15 states where children are farthest from a top-level pediatric trauma center

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How many children in the United States have access to top-level pediatric trauma care? According to a new government report, just over half of U.S. children live within 30 miles of a pediatric trauma center specialized to treat all injuries.

Pediatric Trauma Centers: Availability, Outcomes, and Federal Support Related to Pediatric Trauma Care was developed by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) at the request of congressional leaders. According to the report, just 57% of the 73.7 million children in the U.S. during the period 2011 to 2015 lived within 30 miles of a Level I or Level II pediatric trauma center.

States with the highest percentages of pediatric trauma center access included Massachusetts (92.1%), Connecticut (91.5%), New Jersey (85.5%), New York (84.5%) and Maryland (81.8%).

In 15 states, less than 25% of children lived within 30 miles of a Level I or Level II pediatric trauma center. With tied states listed in alphabetical order, these are:

  1. Alaska (0%)
  2. Hawaii (0%)
  3. Louisiana (0%)
  4. Maine (0%)
  5. Montana (0%)
  6. New Mexico (0%)
  7. Oregon (0%)
  8. Wyoming (0%)
  9. Idaho (2.5%)
  10. Mississippi (6.7%)
  11. New Hampshire (8.8%)
  12. West Virginia (11.1%)
  13. Vermont (12.5%)
  14. South Carolina (20.0%)
  15. North Dakota (21.8%)

“Some studies GAO reviewed, including nationwide studies, found that children treated at pediatric trauma centers have a lower mortality risk compared to children treated at adult trauma centers and other facilities,” the report stated. Other state-level studies reviewed for the report showed no difference in mortality between the two groups.