A new federal report finds that all but 10.1 percent of Connecticut residents had a usual source of medical care during 2014 – tied for the sixth lowest percentage among the states. The same report found great variation among states but, on average, 17.3 percent of Americans lacked a usual source of care. Vermont led the country with only 2.8 percent of residents reporting they do not have a regular care site, according to data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, followed by Delaware at 6.8 percent.
Even in Connecticut there remains room for improvement as nearly 3 in 10 – 29.6 percent - of Connecticut residents had not seen or talked to a general doctor during the last year, slightly better than the national average. Vermont also led the country in that statistic, with 84 percent having seen or spoken with a physician during the previous year.
The percentage of adults without a usual place of medical care ranged from 2.8 percent in Vermont to 26.7 percent in Nevada. The percentage of adults who did not have a general doctor visit in the past 12 months ranged from 15.9 percent in Vermont to nearly have the state’s population - 48.1 percent - in Montana.
The federal data indicated that nine states (Nevada, Idaho, Texas, Oregon, Wyoming, Kentucky, Arizona, Alaska, and Florida) had a higher percentage of adults without a usual place of medical care compared with the national average (17.3%).
Conversely, Vermont, Delaware (6.8%), Massachusetts (7.5%), Wisconsin (9.5%), Hawaii (10%), Connecticut (10.1%), Rhode Island (10.1%), New Hampshire (11.6%), North Dakota (11.9%), South Dakota, New York, Alabama, Iowa, Maine, and Pennsylvania had a lower percentage of adults without a usual place of medical care compared with the national average.
Eleven states (Montana, South Dakota, Alaska, Nevada, New Mexico, South Carolina, Idaho, Nebraska, Texas, Florida, and California) had a higher percentage of adults who had not seen or talked to a general doctor in the past 12 months compared with the national average (34.0%). Vermont, Delaware, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, and Ohio had a lower percentage of adults who had not seen or talked to a general doctor in the past 12 months compared with the national average.
Connecticut, at 29.6 percent, ranked just outside the top 10 states in the second quartile, but just below the national average.
Also of note, the study found little impact on these metrics of states’ decisions to expand Medicaid or create a state-based health insurance exchange. The federal analysis concluded that “continued state-specific monitoring will be helpful in identifying and tracking state and regional disparities in health care utilization over time.”
The National Health Interview Survey is a multipurpose health survey conducted continuously throughout the year by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). Interviews are conducted in person in respondents’ homes, but follow-ups to complete interviews may be conducted over the telephone. The federal report was authored by Lindsey I. Black and Jeannine S. Schiller, with the National Center for Health Statistics, Division of Health Interview Statistics.