State Variability in Supply of Office-based Primary Care Providers: United States, 2012

May 8, 2014

Primary care providers include primary care physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners. Primary care physicians are those in family and general practice, internal medicine, geriatrics, and pediatrics. Physician assistants are state-licensed health professionals practicing medicine under a physician’s supervision. Nurse practitioners are registered nurses with advanced clinical training. The ability to obtain primary care depends on the availability of primary care providers.

A new NCHS report presents state estimates of the supply of primary care physicians per capita, as well as the availability of physician assistants or nurse practitioners in primary care physicians’ practices. Estimates are based on data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, Electronic Health Records Survey, a nationally representative survey of office-based physicians.

Key Findings from the Report:

  • In 2012, 46.1 primary care physicians and 65.5 specialists were available per 100,000 population.
  • From 2002 through 2012, the supply of specialists consistently exceeded the supply of primary care physicians.
  • Compared with the national average, the supply of primary care physicians was higher in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington; it was lower in Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas.
  • In 2012, 53.0% of office-based primary care physicians worked with physician assistants or nurse practitioners.
  • Compared with the national average, the percentage of physicians working with physician assistants or nurse practitioners was higher in 19 states and lower in Georgia.


Asthma Awareness Month

May 7, 2014

Illustration of person using asthma inhaler.May is Asthma Awareness Month and it’s important to recognize one of the most common lifelong chronic diseases.

Asthma is a common chronic airway disorder characterized by periods of reversible airflow obstruction known as asthma attacks.  Airflow is obstructed by inflammation and airway hyperreactivity (contraction of the small muscles surrounding the airways) in reaction to certain exposures.  Exposures include exercise, infection, allergens (e.g., pollen), occupational exposures (e.g., chemicals), and airborne irritants (e.g., environmental tobacco smoke).

Symptoms may include wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness. It is not clear how to prevent asthma from developing and there is no cure. Yet the means to control and prevent exacerbations in persons who have asthma are well established in evidence-based clinical guidelines.

3,404 people died of asthma in 2010, according to the most recent national data.

In 2010, 439,000 people were discharged from the hospital with asthma as first-listed diagnosis and the average length of stay was over 3 days.

Asthma prevalence (the percentage of people who have ever been diagnosed with asthma and still have asthma) increased from 7.3% in 2001 to 8.4% in 2010.  Also, an estimated 25.7 million people had asthma: 18.7 million adults and 7 million children and adolescents.

Children and adolescents had higher asthma prevalence (9.5%) than adults (7.7%) for the period 2008–2010. Females had higher asthma prevalence than males (9.2% compared with 7%).

However, data from the National Health Interview Survey show that asthma prevalence in the U.S. dropped sharply during the first nine months of 2013.

For more information on asthma:




Adverse Family Experiences Among Children in Nonparental Care, 2011–2012

May 7, 2014

A new NCHS report presents estimates of the proportion of children who have experienced selected adverse family events by the number of biological parents in the household, with a focus on comparisons among subgroups of children in nonparental care defined by caregiver type.

Key Findings from the Report:

  • Children in nonparental care were 2.7 times as likely as children living with two biological parents to have had at least one adverse experience,and more than 2 times as likely as children living with one biological parent and about 30 times as likely as children living with two biological parents to have had four or more adverse experiences.
  • More than one-half of children in foster care had experienced caregiver violence or caregiver incarceration and almost two-thirds had lived with someone with an alcohol or drug problem.
  • Estimates for children in other nonparental care subgroups were lower than for foster care,but still elevated above those of children living with biological parents.


Injury-related Emergency Department Visits by Children and Adolescents: United States, 2009–2010

May 6, 2014

Injury is the leading cause of death and a major source of morbidity among children and adolescents in the United States. The emergency department (ED) plays an important role in the care of injuries, and these visits often represent the initial contact with a provider for the injury.

A new report from NCHS examines nationally representative data on injury-related ED visits by children and adolescents aged 18 years and under in the United States during 2009–2010. Injury-related ED visit rates were also compared for the age groups 0–4, 5–12, and 13–18 years, as these correspond to the preschool, school-age, and teen life periods respectively.


Key Findings from the Report:

  • In 2009–2010, an annual average of 11.9 million injury-related emergency department (ED) visits were made by children and adolescents aged 18 years and under in the United States.
  • The injury-related ED visit rate was 151 per 1,000 persons aged 18 years and under, and rates were higher for males than for females for all age groups (0–4 years, 5–12 years, and 13–18 years).
  • The injury-related ED visit rates among persons aged 5–12 years and 13–18 years were higher for non-Hispanic black persons than for other race and ethnicity groups.
  • Leading causes of injury-related ED visits among both males and females included falls and striking against or being struck unintentionally by objects or persons. Visit rates were higher for males than for females for both of these causes.

QuickStats: Percentage of Children Aged 6–17 Years Prescribed Medication During the Preceding 6 Months for Emotional or Behavioral Difficulties

May 5, 2014

During 2011–2012, among children aged 6–17 years, 7.5% overall had been prescribed medication for emotional or behavioral difficulties during the preceding 6 months. By U.S. Census region, the percentages were 9.3% in the South, 8.0% in the Midwest, 6.3% in the Northeast, and 5.0% in the West.