Report: CT women, children’s health care lagging
Tuesday, October 31, 2023
Despite Connecticut doing a lot to bolster child health, a new report found plenty more needs to be done.
The state ranked 8th in the latest evaluation by America's Health Rankings. Its Health of Women and Children report said there were improvements, such as children in poverty declining by 10%. However, the number of children in poverty driven by racial disparities dropped only 0.5%, and the number of homeless students remained the same.
Paul Dworkin, executive vice president of community child health for Connecticut Children's Medical Center, said the root causes are linked to financial insecurity.
"The impact of the pandemic, the short-term financial relief, and now a return or even a deterioration to a lower status of financial well-being has clearly taken its toll," Dworkin outlined.
Child advocates in the state have been calling on the General Assembly to create a permanent child tax credit to help keep families afloat. During the pandemic, around 80% of eligible families in the state applied for the Child Tax Rebate between June and July 2022. The United Way of Connecticut finds around 40% of families in the state are struggling to make ends meet due to high rents and low wages.
The report found women in the state faced deficiencies in socioeconomic factors as well as health outcomes. In Connecticut, and across the U.S., maternal mortality has risen in the last year.
Dr. Lisa Saul, national medical director of maternal child health for UnitedHealthcare, describes some reasons for the increase.
"We also are seeing a shift in terms of increases in chronic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, obesity, that play a distinct role in terms of outcomes," Saul pointed out.
Additionally, she noted a lack of access to maternal health clinics contributed to the increases.
The March of Dimes reported every Connecticut county has full access to maternal health care, but almost 9% of women receive inadequate prenatal care, which is below the national average of 15%.
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