Nevada ranks last in children's health care - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Nevada ranks last in children's health care

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Nevada ranked dead last in a national survey that measures the quality of child health care.

In WalletHub's "2017 Best & Worst States for Children's Health Care" list, Nevada placed last out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia in kids health and access to health care as well as kids oral health. The Silver State ranked 48th out of 51 states and D.C. in terms of kids nutrition, physical activity and obesity.

According to WalletHub's ranking, each state was compared against 28 key indicators of cost, quality, and access to children's health care. The data set ranges from share of children aged 0 to 17 years old in excellent or very good health to pediatricians and family doctors per capita.

It's a concern for mom, Elitsa Kostidinova. 

"We got lucky finding a good doctor," Kostidinova said. "(Poor care is) a big concern," Kostidinova said. "I didn't know (about that) when we moved and I probably should've done my homework."

The numbers were not a surprise to several doctors, but Jay Fisher, a Pediatric Emergency Director at University Medical Center, said there is a way to improve. 

"We started out behind when I got here in 1992," Fisher said. "The population of children here has about tripled since then and we've been plying catch up ever since."

According to Wallet Hub, part of the problem is preventive care. Nevada had the lowest percentage of kids with preventive care visits in the past year.

"Like for her, my daughter, it's okay to be seen every two months," said Kostidinova. "The older one, he's three years old, and if he's not sick or something like that, I'm just not taking him to the doctor because the last time we went for her, he got sick."

Fisher said preventative health is key and will lower overall spending on medical bills in the long run, but it's not the only problem in the state.

"If you graduate 12 residents a year," Fisher said. "You're fortunate if you get four or five to stay (in-state)."

He said a new facility could help keep Nevada-trained doctors from practicing elsewhere.

"We need a free standing pediatric children's hospital, that is accessible to all that and is supported by state and federal funding to attract people from outside," Fisher said. "At this point in time, we are so far behind, we have to bring people in from outside."

Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, and New Hampshire ranked in the top five on the list.

To view the full methodology and the ranking, click here.

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