Monday, June 18, 2012

Almost half of Americans did not receive routine preventive care before 2010, study finds

Los Angeles Times graphic by Mel Melcon
Though preventive medicine is considered a cornerstone in improving health, nearly half of Americans did not receive routine preventive care before 2010, a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found.

The findings show “there are large disparities by demographics, geography, and health care coverage and access” when it comes to receiving preventive clinical services, said CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden.

The analysis looked at “how many people with vascular heart disease were prescribed aspirin or antiplatelet therapy to prevent heart disease (just 46 percent) and how many adults with hypertension had their blood pressure under control (just 43 percent). Only 28 percent of adults between 18 and 64 had received the seasonal influenza vaccine. Only 7.6 percent of tobacco users were prescribed tobacco cessation medication,” reports Eryn Brown for the Los Angeles Times.

When it came to cholesterol testing the results were more positive, with 70 percent of men and women considered at risk receiving screening in the last five years. Preventive care to manage diabetes was also more readily accessible.

The goal of the study was to establish a baseline of preventive care before the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, which “gave 54 million Americans at least one new free preventive service through private health insurance plans,” Brown reports. (Read more)

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