Financial Burden of Medical Care: A Family Perspective

January 28, 2014

Recently published data from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) found that 1 in 5 persons was in a family having problems paying medical bills, and 1 in 10 persons was in a family with medical bills that they were unable to pay at all.  NHIS defines “family” as an individual or a group of two or more related persons living together in the same housing unit. The family perspective is important to consider when examining financial risk because significant expenses for one family member may adversely affect the whole family. Health insurance coverage is one way for a family to mitigate financial risk associated with health care costs, although health insurance status may differ among family members.

A new report explores selected family demographic characteristics and their association with financial burdens of medical care (problems paying medical bills, paying medical bills over time, and having medical bills that cannot be paid) based on data from the 2012 NHIS.

Key Findings from the Report:

  • In 2012, more than one in four families experienced financial burdens of medical care.
  • Families with incomes at or below 250% of the federal poverty level (FPL) were more likely to experience financial burdens of medical care than families with incomes above 250% of the FPL.
  • Families with children aged 0–17 years were more likely than families without children to experience financial burdens of medical care.
  • The presence of a family member who was uninsured increased the likelihood that a family would experience a financial burden of medical care.

Influenza Vaccine Stats

January 28, 2014

With winter now in full force, it is important for people to get vaccinated against influenza, a serious respiratory disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Every flu season is different, and influenza infection can affect people differently. An annual seasonal flu vaccine (either through a shot or nasal mist) is the best way to reduce a person’s chances of getting seasonal flu and spreading it to others.

Influenza vaccination rates among U.S. adults aged 18 and over inched up slightly from 35% in 2010 to 37% in 2011.  This represents a big improvement from 1989 when only 9.6% of the adult population were reported to be vaccinated. Women are more likely than men to have ever received a influenza vaccination. Adults aged 75 years or older are more likely to have ever received a influenza vaccination compared with adults aged 65 to 74 years. And white adults are more likely than Hispanic and black adults to have received the vaccination.

Vaccination from influenza is one of the most important public health strategies. Between 2001 and 2011, annual influenza vaccination (for noninstitutionalized adults) increased among those aged 18–49 and 50–64 but was stable among those aged 65 and over (decreases in influenza vaccination coverage in 2005 were related to a vaccine shortage)

For more information on influenza, please check this link from the CDC.

Updates to Stats of the States

January 27, 2014

NCHS has new updates to Stats of the States that caputures vital statistics for all 50 states.


QUICKSTAT: Average Annual Number of Deaths from Unintentional, Non–Fire-Related Carbon Monoxide Poisoning-US, 1999–2010

January 27, 2014


During 1999–2010, a total of 5,149 deaths from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning occurred in the United States, an average of 430 deaths per year. The average annual death rate from carbon monoxide poisoning for males was more than three times higher than that for females.  The death rates were highest among those 65 or older for males (0.42) and females (0.18). The rates were the lowest for males and females under 25.

Statcast – October through December 2013

January 23, 2014

Welcome to Statcast.
Quarterly highlights from the National Center for Health Statistics
This edition covers October through December of 2013
In October, a new release have data showed that nearly 35 percent of American adults were obese in 2012
Up slightly from 30 percent a decade before
New data also showed 13 percent of American adults had high cholesterol in 2012
A continued decline from the 1970s
NCHS also released the latest estimates on hypertension in the US approximately thirty percent of adults had hypertension in 2012
Virtually the same percent as a decade before
An October 4th Quickstat by Charlotte Schoenborn looked at the percentage a young adults who have never smoked cigarettes
Over the past 14 years the percentage of young adults who have never smoked cigarettes increased from 65 percent to 76 percent
Young women were more likely to have never smoked then young man
In December 2013, NCHS released its half-year estimates on the number and percent of Americans without health insurance
During the first six months of 2013 over 45 million people or 14.6 percent of the population did not have health insurance and 18 percent reported they did not have insurance for at least part of the past year
These percentages are virtually the same as a decade before
Suicides are more common during the holidays or winter months?
Answer. Fiction. Suicides actually occur more frequently during the late spring and summer months
The past 12 years available data show that during May to August there were an average up almost ninety four suicides per day
Compared to almost eighty-six per day in November through February
This has been another edition of statcast. Quarterly highlights from the National Center for Health Statistics.

Fewer Women Seeking Help for Infertility

January 22, 2014

A new report from NCHS presents nationally representative estimates and trends for infertility service use among women aged 15–44 and 25–44 in the United States in 1982–2010. While greater detail on types of infertility service is shown for women, basic data on types of infertility service use, as reported by men aged 25–44, are also presented.

Key Findings from the Report:

• 12% of women aged 15–44 in 2006–2010 (7.3 million women), or their husbands or partners, had ever used infertility services.

• Among women aged 25–44, 17% (6.9 million) had ever used any infertility service, a significant decrease from 20% in 1995.

• In all survey years, ever-use of medical help to get pregnant was highest among older and nulliparous women, non-Hispanic white women, women with current fertility problems, and women with higher levels of education and household income.

• The most commonly used infertility services among women aged 25–44 in 2006–2010 were advice, testing, medical help to prevent miscarriage, and ovulation drugs. Ever-use of infertility services was reported.

Electronic Health Records Among Office-based Physician Practices: United States, 2001–2013

January 22, 2014

The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009 authorized incentive payments to increase physician adoption of electronic health record (EHR) systems. The Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs are staged in three steps, with increasing requirements for participation. To receive an EHR incentive payment, physicians must show that they are “meaningfully using” certified EHRs by meeting certain objectives. This report describes trends in the adoption of EHR systems from 2001 through 2013, as well as physicians’ intent to participate in the EHR Incentive Programs and their readiness to meet 14 of the Stage 2 Core Set objectives for meaningful use in 2013.

Key Findings from the Report:

  • In 2013, 78% of office-based physicians used any type of electronic health record (EHR) system, up from 18% in 2001.
  • In 2013, 48% of office-based physicians reported having a system that met the criteria for a basic system, up from 11% in 2006. The percentage of physicians with basic systems by state ranged from 21% in New Jersey to 83% in North Dakota.
  • In 2013, 69% of office-based physicians reported that they intended to participate (i.e., they planned to apply or already had applied) in “meaningful use” incentives. About 13% of all office-based physicians reported that they both intended to participate in meaningful use incentives and had EHR systems with the capabilities to support 14 of the Stage 2 Core Set objectives for meaningful use.
  • From 2010 (the earliest year that trend data are available) to 2013, physician adoption of EHRs able to support various Stage 2 meaningful use objectives increased significantly.

First-Ever Data on Asian-Americans Released

January 15, 2014

The number of Asian persons in the United States grew by more than 40% between 2000 and 2010. Asian persons now make up 4.9% of the population. To address the scarcity of health information based on physical measurements of Asian persons, non-Hispanic Asian persons were oversampled for the first time in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2011–2012. A new report presents the prevalence of hypertension, abnormal cholesterol, and high body mass index (BMI) in non-Hispanic Asian adults aged 20 and over. Abnormal cholesterol and high BMI are defined based solely on measurements, while hypertension is defined based on blood pressure measurement and reported medication use.

Key Findings from the Report:

  • One-quarter (25.6%) of non-Hispanic Asian adults aged 20 and over had hypertension in 2011–2012.
  • Approximately 1 in 10 non-Hispanic Asian adults had high total cholesterol.
  • Just over 14% of non-Hispanic Asian adults had low levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol.
  • Just under 40% of non-Hispanic Asian adults had a body mass index greater than 25 kilograms per square meter.

QuickStats: Infant Mortality Rates by Race and Hispanic Ethnicity of Mother — United States, 2000, 2005, and 2010

January 14, 2014

m6301qsfThe U.S. infant mortality rate plateaued during 2000–2005, then declined from 6.86 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in 2005 to 6.14 in 2010. Declines from 2005 to 2010 were largest for non-Hispanic black women (from 13.63 to 11.46), followed by non-Hispanic white (from 5.76 to 5.18) and Hispanic women (from 5.62 to 5.25). In 2000 and 2005, the non-Hispanic black infant mortality rates were 2.4 times the non-Hispanic white rates; however, the difference between the two rates has narrowed, and in 2010, the non-Hispanic black rate was 2.2 times the non-Hispanic white rate.

Hypothermia Deaths

January 14, 2014

With record-breaking cold weather sending single digit temperatures in most of the country, its important to stay warm.  Prolonged exposure to the cold will eventually use up your body’s stored energy and can lead to hypothermia.  If gone untreated, hypothermia can lead to death.

From 1999 to 2011, a total of 16,911 deaths in the United States, an average of 1,301 per year, were associated with exposure to excessive natural cold. The highest yearly total of hypothermia-related deaths (1,536) was in 2010 and the lowest (1,058) in 2006. Approximately 67% of hypothermia-related deaths were among males.

For more information on how to stay safe from hypothermia please click here.