The Best and Worst Cities for Asthma Sufferers: Detailed Rankings

Health, Medical Costs
The Best Hospitals for Asthma

Detailed rankings for all cities included in the study “The Best and Worst Cities for Asthma Sufferers“.

Rank City % of children with asthma % of adults with asthma Hospital charges Actual Medicare payments Primary care physicians (per 100,000 residents) Specialists (per 100,000 residents) Smog grade Particle air pollution grade Drug cost Aggregate score
1 Omaha 1.6 5.5 $22,434 $5,433 84 25 A C $523 65.4
2 Nashville 2.1 5.5 $16,703 $6,202 85 66 C A $564 60.6
3 Arlington 2.2 5.4 $25,917 $5,378 70 322 F A $561 59.3
4 Tucson 1.9 7.4 $25,313 $5,424 79 66 C A $544 57.8
5 Seattle 1.5 7.7 $30,853 $6,239 99 66 C A $553 57.8
6 Colorado Springs 2.4 5.2 $17,413 $5,766 95 94 C A $639 56.7
7 Denver 1.9 6.5 $28,223 $6,700 95 65 B A $635 55.5
8 Raleigh 2.2 6.6 $18,844 $5,242 83 123 D B $554 54.9
9 Fort Worth 2.2 5.4 $25,696 $5,984 70 159 F A $561 54.8
10 Virginia Beach 2.0 6.7 $20,064 $7,358 90 112 C B $563 54.4
11 Wichita 2.2 6.4 $24,338 $5,463 84 39 F A $571 51.2
12 Minneapolis 1.9 5.4 $30,776 $5,671 105 79 C C $651 50.5
13 Memphis 2.5 5.3 $26,356 $5,790 85 62 F B $554 50.4
14 Dallas 2.2 5.4 $28,073 $6,327 70 98 F B $565 49.6
15 Las Vegas 1.5 6.1 $39,603 $6,009 69 14 F B $553 49.3
16 Atlanta 2 7.3 $16,905 $6,207 76 101 F B $564 48.5
17 Austin 1.9 5.6 $28,300 $5,130 70 148 D C $653 47.9
18 Columbus 2.4 7.6 $15,864 $6,123 92 86 F B $554 47.6
19 Jacksonville 2 5.9 $22,215 $5,895 85 127 C D $645 47.6
20 Long Beach 1.7 6.4 $29,034 $7,104 91 448 F F $586 47.5
21 San Antonio 2.2 5.4 $28,780 $6,306 70 89 F A $651 46.7
22 Charlotte 2.2 6.6 $17,942 $5,987 83 67 F A $655 46.2
23 Kansas City 1.9 6.9 $22,077 $6,318 86 76 C C $651 46.2
24 Miami 2.4 7.4 $35,707 $7,535 85 260 C B $651 45.1
25 Louisville 2 8.1 $15,732 $5,381 78 39 F C $565 44.5
26 Portland 1.9 8.3 $21,266 $7,200 106 37 C B $655 44.5
27 San Francisco 1 7.3 $62,385 $11,981 91 257 A C $648 44.3
28 Tulsa 2.1 7.5 $19,461 $5,557 75 32 F A $651 43.9
29 Fresno 2.1 5.9 $26,318 $6,214 91 419 F F $648 43.8
30 El Paso 2.4 5.2 $39,368 $5,568 70 182 D D $632 43.1
31 Boston 2.1 9.1 $17,064 $8,794 132 107 C B $659 42.9
32 Baltimore 1.4 4.4 $11,699 $11,046 114 93 D F $648 42.8
33 Albuquerque 2.4 7.7 $19,524 $5,660 91 18 C C $653 42.5
34 Detroit 2.5 7.4 $13,737 $7,954 96 72 F C $553 42.2
35 Oakland 1.6 6.5 $47,992 $8,849 91 528 F D $651 42.1
36 Houston 2.2 5.3 $33,982 $6,423 70 56 F B $654 41.7
37 San Diego 1.7 6.5 $33,332 $7,897 91 159 F F $560 41.0
38 Oklahoma City 2.1 7.5 $29,548 $6,398 75 22 F A $651 40.6
39 Mesa 2.2 7.1 $25,155 $5,466 79 77 F F $545 40.6
40 Cleveland 2.2 7.6 $18,898 $6,095 92 171 F C $655 40.5
41 Indianapolis 2.4 7.2 $16,028 $7,202 78 34 D F $554 39.4
42 Washington 3.1 8.3 $19,383 $7,181 246 14 F C $648 39.1
43 Phoenix 2.2 7.1 $23,361 $6,029 79 23 F F $544 38.9
44 Sacramento 1.8 6.3 $45,219 $8,319 91 444 F F $648 38.5
45 New York 2.0 7.7 $24,402 $10,234 109 20 D B $646 37.7
46 Milwaukee 1.9 7.0 $19,418 $6,833 95 53 F D $695 34.8
47 Chicago 1.7 6.2 $25,795 $8,319 96 28 F F $655 33.4
48 San Jose 1.7 6.4 $77,829 $8,417 91 217 F D $661 30.1
49 Philadelphia 2.3 7.3 $48,174 $7,665 99 61 F D $646 29.6
50 Los Angeles 1.7 6.4 $50,228 $8,452 91 55 F F $652 29.0

 
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Methodology:

The 50 largest U.S. cities were included in this analysis. All variables were normalized to range from 0 to 100, with 100 being the best and 0 being the worst. The overall score was calculated by taking the average of the normalized variables by city. Each variable was weighted equally. We then ranked cities on the 0-to-100 scale. Find the detailed rankings for all 50 cities here.

Prevalence: Obtained on a county-by-county basis. Source: American Lung Association, Epidemiology and Statistics Unit, Research and Health Education 2013.

Hospitalization charges and average total payments: Obtained on a citywide basis for the “asthma with complication” diagnosis-related group. Hospitalization charges and payments are for Medicare patients only, which is a limitation of this study. Source: Medicare Provider Utilization and Payment Data (Inpatient).

Drug costs: Drugs include Albuterol, Advair diskus, Flovent diskus and Singulair. They comprise the one-time, out-of-pocket cash price of the major classes of asthma medications. Obtained from GoodRx.com (retrieved 3/26/2014 at 6:30 p.m. PT) on a zip code level.

Number of primary care physicians: Data were obtained from the American Association of Medical Colleges 2013 State Physician Workforce Data Book. It reports the number of physicians per 100,000 residents in the state.

Number of specialists: Specialists include allergists, immunologists, pediatric pulmonologists and pulmonary disease specialists. Source was the American Board of Medical Specialties.

Air quality: Ozone level and 24-hour particle pollution were used to assess air quality. Ozone means smog, and particle pollution comprises tiny particles from ash, vehicle exhaust, soil dust, pollen and other pollution. Air quality is graded from “A” to “F,” with the former being the best and the latter the worst. Data were obtained on a zip code basis from www.stateoftheair.org.


Hospital hallway photo courtesy of Shutterstock.