New York State's Prevention Agenda Efforts Show Improvements and Progress in Health Status of New Yorkers

ALBANY, N.Y. (March 2, 2016) – Adults in New York State are spending less time in the hospital, and fewer teenagers are taking up cigarette smoking. These are just a few findings from the New York State Department of Health's Prevention Agenda Dashboard, which measures progress on 96 statewide health outcome indicators, including reductions in health disparities.

The New York State Prevention Agenda 2013-18 is the blueprint for state and local action to improve the health of New Yorkers in five priority areas: preventing chronic diseases; promoting a safe and healthy environment; promoting healthy women, infants and children; promoting mental health and preventing substance abuse; and preventing sexually-transmitted diseases, health care associated infections and vaccine-preventable diseases.

"The Prevention Agenda is a very ambitious effort to make New York the healthiest state in the nation," said Commissioner of Health Dr. Howard Zucker. "We're encouraged by these findings, which show that state and local action has helped us achieve many of our objectives and made significant progress in others. Even so, other measurements show that our work is not done. To move forward, we need continued active participation of the public health and health care communities."

The agenda also strives to improve the poorer health outcomes based on racial, ethnic, disability, socioeconomic and other factors, known as health disparities. About half of the 96 indicators are being used to track progress in health reform initiatives, including the state's Medicaid reforms and the State Health Innovation Plan.

Local health departments, hospitals and other community agencies and organizations are using the Prevention Agenda to identify health priorities, and develop and implement health improvement plans to address them.

As of April 2015, several of the Prevention Agenda objectives had been met or exceeded. Examples include:

  • Among adults 18 and older, the rate of preventable hospitalizations had fallen to 127.4 per 10,000 population in 2013 from 135.8 per 10,000 in 2012. The change exceeds the Prevention Agenda objective of 133.3 per 10,000 for 2018. The Department has adjusted the objective to further reduce preventable hospitalizations to 122.0 per 10,000 by 2018.
  • Among adults aged 65 and up, the rate of hospitalizations due to falls decreased to 186.0 per 10,000 population in 2013 from 193.4 per 10,000 population in 2012. The decline meets and surpasses the Prevention Agenda objective of 204.6 per 10,000 for 2018.
  • The adolescent pregnancy rate among females between 15 and 17 years of age fell to 19.3 per 1,000 in 2013 from 22.6 per 1,000 in 2012. These figures exceed the Prevention Agenda objective of 25.6 per 1,000 for 2018.

In addition, 22 indicators showed progress, with 19 having significant improvement. Examples include:

  • The percentage of premature deaths (defined as death before age 65) decreased to 23.6 percent in 2013 from 23.9 percent in 2012 but still did not meet the Prevention Agenda objective of 21.8 percent by 2018.
  • The prevalence of any tobacco use (cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco) by high school students dropped to 15.2 percent in 2014 from 21.8 percent in 2012 and nearly met the Prevention Agenda objective of 15 percent by 2018.
  • The use of smoking cessation benefits among smokers enrolled in Medicaid Managed Care increased to 22.0 percent in 2013 from 19.9 percent in 2012, but still did not achieve the Prevention Agenda objective of 41 percent by 2018.
  • The asthma emergency department visit rate fell to 85.7 per 10,000 population in 2013 from 87.1 in 2012 but still did not meet the Prevention Agenda objective of 75.1 per 10,000 population by 2018.
  • The percentage of adults in commercial managed care plans with diabetes who have blood glucose in good control rose to 58.5 percent in 2013 from 55.2 percent in 2011 but still did not achieve the Prevention Agenda objective of 60.5 percent by 2018.

Dashboard measurements show the state still has to work on lowering its rates of adult obesity. The percentage of adults who are obese has essentially remained unchanged since the launch of the Prevention Agenda in 2013, when it was 25.4 percent. The Prevention Agenda has set an objective of 23.2 percent by 2018.

Like the rest of the country, New York is also experiencing an increase in rates of syphilis in men. Primary and secondary syphilis among men in New York rose slightly to 14.8 cases per 100,000 men in 2013 from 12.4 per 100,000 men in 2012. The Prevention Agenda objective is 10.1 cases per 100,000 men by 2018. Nationally, rates of syphilis rose 15.1 percent between 2013 and 2014, mostly among men and especially men who have sex with men.

Objective targets were established by the committees that developed the Prevention Agenda in 2012 after reviewing historical data for each indicator. When the trend was moving in the direction desired, the committees projected an improvement of 5 to 10 percent, based on intervention strategies and resources available. If the trend was moving in the wrong direction, the committees projected a smaller percent improvement (0-5 percent). When the indicator was consistent with a national indicator, such as the Healthy People 2020 (HP2020) initiative established by the federal government, committees set the same target, if the target appeared achievable within the Prevention Agenda time frame.

In general, the state set an improvement goal of 10 percent over six years for most objectives, which is more ambitious than the HP2020 target of 10 percent improvement over ten years.

For more information and to see the Prevention Agenda dashboard, visit: