By MICHAEL TAYLORWASHINGTON (AP) — When doctors, nurses and other professionals with spinal injuries need a hand in diagnosing and treating a patient, they call up the federal government for help.
In 2017, more than 1,000 Americans were treated for spinal injuries in federal hospitals, according to data from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
The vast majority were in states with generous federal-state partnerships.
The federal government provides roughly $1.3 trillion in care annually to nearly 1.5 million people who have spinal injuries.
The top 10 states with the highest spinal injury rate are:Alabama, Arizona, California, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Washington.
The 10 states that have the lowest spinal injury rates are:Alaska, Arizona and Hawaii.
Some states have more than one type of spinal injury.
Louisiana has about 2,700 types of spinal injuries, Alaska about 2.5, California about 2 and Hawaii about 1.
The states with some of the highest numbers of patients in the U.N.DNS data, however, are not included in this ranking because the organization has not released them.
The federal government is spending nearly $5 billion a year on spinal injury care in the United States.
More than two-thirds of that is spent on spinal cord injuries.
Federal health officials say they are looking at how to make spinal injuries more treatable by creating more spinal rehabilitation centers and by investing more in research and clinical trials.
The United States ranks 29th out of 34 industrialized countries in the number of people living with a spinal injury, according the World Health Organization.
The United States also ranks 47th in the percentage of people who report having a diagnosed spinal injury for at least three years.
The U.K., which has a national disability insurance program, has more than 8,000 people living in a rehabilitation center for spinal cord injury, a group that includes people with neck, back, shoulders, hips, wrists and arms.