Teen birthrates dropped across ERC region last year

New data on births rates from the CDC finds that last year the CSG-ERC region had significantly lower teen birth rates than the rest of the nation, with the exception of Puerto Rico. In both 2013 and 2014, Massachusetts had the lowest teen birth rate both in the region and across all states. Nationally the rate of births to mothers ages 15 to 19 dropped by 8.7% from 2013 to 2014 to a historic low and the average mothers’ age at first birth rose to 26.3 Teen birth rates dropped across all races and ethnicities from 2013 to 2014. Teen birth rates dropped for all ERC states over that time; Delaware had the greatest drop at 16.2%. Nationally the rate of cesarean section births continued to drop last year to 32.2% but rates of low birth weight didn’t change.


Births/1000 women

ages 15 to 19


Births/1000 women

ages 15 to 19



% Change



US 26.5 24.2 -2.3 -8.7
CT 12.9 11.5 -1.4 -10.9
DE 24.7 20.7 -4 -16.2
ME 17.4 16.5 -0.9 -5.2
MD 19.4 17.8 -1.6 -8.2
MA 12.1 10.6 -1.5 -12.4
NH 12.6 11.0 -1.6 -12.7
NJ 14.8 13.1 -1.7 -11.5
NY 17.7 16.1 -1.6 -9.0
PA 20.9 19.3 -1.6 -7.7
RI 17.7 15.8 -1.9 -10.7
VT 14.5 14.2 -0.3 -2.1
PR 44.6 40.4 -4.2 -9.4

British medical humor for the holidays

Formerly known as the British Medical Journal, the BMJ Christmas issue is out with critical additions to the scientific literature such as a study of doctors’ coffee purchasing at work (surgeons drink the most, hierarchical position is positively correlated with high consumption and generosity in paying for others’ coffee) and the growing frequency of quotes from Bob Dylan songs in the scientific literature (the study was inspired by a long-running bet among scientists at a Swedish institute over how many they could sneak in, apparently “The Times They are a-Changin” is most frequently cited overall). For the last 35 years, BMJ’s last issue of the year has included novel, sometimes irreverent, often Christmas-themed articles. Unlike April Fool’s, the articles must meet the same rigorous scientific standards as the rest of the year. Prior issues have included a scientific explanation of why Rudolph’s nose is red (more blood vessels), debunking a Danish myth that people can get drunk by soaking their feet in alcohol, and a survey of sword swallowers’ medical issues. My favorite this year is Rejection of Rejection – Overcoming Barriers to Publication. The bane of academic life, leading scientific journals reject 80% of submissions. The piece includes a form letter response to a returned article thanking the journal for the rejection, but adding “Unfortunately we are unable to accept it at this time.” It goes on to explain that the author, as you might imagine, receives many rejections every year and is unfortunately unable to accept them all.

New England Governors’ letter urges Congressional leaders to expand opioid treatment workforce

All six New England governors signed a letter yesterday to Congress urging passage of the Recovery Enhancement for Addiction Treatment Act, which would expand the types of providers available to deliver important opioid addiction medications. The six states have worked together to address the growing opioid addiction crisis. The bill would help ease long waiting lists for treatment across New England and the nation. At CSG-ERC’s 2014 annual meeting, we heard from patients and providers struggling with the crisis in the ERC region. We also heard from experts on the most effective treatments and state policies to address the problem.

CSG-ERC states lead the nation in health system performance

Health systems in CSG-ERC states perform better than the rest of the US according to the 2015 Commonwealth Fund State Scorecard on State Health System Performance, with Massachusetts leading all states. States are ranked on 42 indicators such as avoidable hospitalizations, health risk behaviors, childhood vaccinations, and hospital patients discharged with information to help recover at home. ERC states also led on most distinct dimensions of health system performance. Massachusetts scored highest in Access and Affordability of care and Maine scored highest among states in Prevention and Treatment. Connecticut and Massachusetts tied for second, respectively, for Healthy Lives and Health Equity. However, ERC states tended to rank lower on Avoidable Hospital Use and Cost, ranging from Vermont at 13th and Maryland at 42nd among states. The rankings offer states guidance to improve health system performance.


State Overall rank among states
Massachusetts 1st
Connecticut, New Hampshire, Rhode Island Tied for 5th
Maine 11th
New York 13th
Delaware 15th
Maryland 18th
New Jersey, Pennsylvania Tied for 20th