Among the nation’s 34 most populous states, the rate of preventive health care visits was higher in Connecticut than any state in the nation. Data released this month from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Health Statistics also found that the rate of preventive care visits to primary care physicians, among the 34 most populous states, exceeded the national rate in Connecticut more than elsewhere. Preventive care visits such as general medical examinations, prenatal visits, and well-baby visits give physicians and other health professionals the opportunity to screen for diseases or conditions, as well as to promote healthy behaviors that may delay or prevent these conditions and reduce subsequent use of emergency or inpatient care.
In this report, the rate of preventive care visits to office-based physicians is examined by state, patient demographics, and physician specialty. Estimates are based on data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS), a nationally representative survey of visits to office-based physicians.
Overall, preventive care visit rates were higher for children under age 18 years (73.2 per 100 persons) and for those aged 65 and over (81.1 per 100 persons) than for adults aged 18–44 (53.2 per 100 persons) and 45–64 (51.8 per 100 persons). The preventive care visit rates for women aged 18–44 (87.1 per 100 women) and 45–64 (60.5 per 100 women) exceeded the rates for men in those age groups (18.5 and 42.5 per 100 men, respectively).
The rate of preventive care visits in the 34 most populous states ranged from 33.1 visits per 100 persons in Arkansas to 120 visits per 100 persons in Connecticut. Among those 34 states, the rate of preventive care visits was lower than the national rate in 11 states (Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Washington). The national average was 61.4 visits per 100 persons. The data is from 2012, the most recent year available from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey.
In 2012, 35.7 preventive care visits were made to primary care physicians for every 100 persons across the United States. In Connecticut, primary care physician preventative care visits were made 59.3 times per 100 people, the highest percentage in the nation. In Massachusetts, the rate was 53.1, in Colorado 51.7, in Florida 48.7 in Georgia 43.3, in Texas 42.8 and in Maryland 42.2. Overall, 58.2 percent of preventive care visits were made to primary care physicians, according to the CDC data. Primary care physicians include office-based physicians in the specialties of family or general medicine, internal medicine, and pediatrics.
The female rate (76.6 visits per 100 females) of preventative care visits exceeded the male rate (45.4 visits per 100 males) by 69 percent. The percentage of preventive care visits to primary care physicians, however, made by males (76.3%) exceeded those made by females (48.0%). The data suggests that women tend to make their preventative care visits to physicians other than their primary care physician, with the report’s summary suggestion. this “may be related to gynecological or obstetric care for women.”
In 2012, the NAMCS survey sample size was increased fivefold to allow for state-level estimates in the 34 most populous states for the first time.