National Study Ranks Iowa Tops for Children’s Health

A national study released today finds that Iowa is the national leader for children’s health. The Commonwealth Fund, a national group that studies health trends among the states, released its 2011 children’s health scorecard. This year, Iowa and Massachusetts have tied for being the top state for children’s health.

The study measured state performance in four categories: Access and Affordability, Prevention and Treatment, Potential to Lead Healthy Lives, and Equity. Iowa was found to be the national leader in prevention and treatment, second for the potential to lead healthy lives, sixth in access and affordability, and seventh for equity.

Specifically, almost 95 percent of Iowa children had some form of health care coverage. Iowa was also the national leader for children being having the proper vaccinations before age 3 and infant mortality rates.

In its description of what Iowa is doing well, the Commonwealth Fund identified the state’s commitment to early treatment and intervention of health issues. One of the key factors for this success, according to the report, has been Community Empowerment Areas. Also cited was the state’s leadership in the implementation of the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment program (EPSDT). This Medicaid program allows children with significant health issues to obtain early treatment, which allows them to lead healthier lives. An additional factor was the HAWK-I program and the fact that it provides eligible children with private health insurance.

In concluding its review of the state’s programs, the Commonwealth Fund said:

Iowa’s innovative policies and public-private partnerships to improve children’s health care serve as evidence-based models that other states can follow to move toward a higher-performing child health system.