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Report: ‘NV worst in nation’ for access to primary care providers

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By Suzanne Potter / Public News Service

The “America’s Health Rankings 2022 Annual Report” is out, and it showed Nevada landed at the bottom or close to it among the states, on multiple health care measures.

Researchers with UnitedHealth Foundation ranked the Silver State 49th for its lack of public health funding and 50th for the number of primary care doctors per 100,000 people.

Marc J. Kahn, dean of the Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine and vice president for health affairs at the University of Nevada, said the two measures are related, and urged the government to fund more slots for medical students to finish up their training.

“Physicians are most likely to practice where they’ve last completed training,” Kahn pointed out. “So for many of them, that’s a residency and/or fellowship. And the state of Nevada has been woefully under-allotted with the numbers of residency positions through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.”

The report also ranked Nevada 47th for both economic hardship and air pollution, and 45th in the country for its low fourth grade reading levels. On a positive note, the state’s housing stock has the best rating in the country for a low risk of lead poisoning, and more than 92% of households now have access to high-speed internet.

This is the 33rd annual report, and the first to include data from the first two years of the pandemic.

Dr. Rhonda Randall, chief medical officer for UnitedHealthcare employer and individual, said from 2019 to 2020, the opioid crisis worsened, leading to a 30% increase in drug deaths.

“This is the largest yearly increase in drug deaths since we’ve been looking at it in 2007,” Randall reported. “That means nearly 92,000 additional people died in the United States due to drug injury and overdose, compared to the prior year.”

The report also cited an 18% jump in premature deaths per 100,000 people nationally from 2019 to 2020.

This story was originally published by Public News Service. Read the original here.

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