November 17, 2010
The Massachusetts Health Council on Tuesday released its annual report detailing progress as well as continuing challenges in the state. Thanks in part to the state's 2006 health care law, 97 percent of Massachusetts residents are insured. Access, however, is limited. Because only 44 percent of primary care physicians are accepting new patients, primary health services are increasingly being provided by hospital emergency departments, which are more expensive. Massachusetts suffers from the highest rate of violent crime in New England, with Hispanics and young women particularly affected. In good news, smoking continued to drop among adults and high school students, and overweight and obesity rates declined among adults. In 2009, Massachusetts recorded only 481 new cases of HIV infection, a major decline from the 737 new cases logged in 2006.