If you tripped and fell and needed to go to the emergency room to have your leg examined, how quickly would you be seen by a doctor? When was the last time you had your cholesterol levels checked? Do you and your neighbors have health insurance?

The data for these questions and more helped to reveal how good healthcare is in various locations in this country. How often people have their cholesterol checked is an indication of how actively engaged they are in their own care; wait times at ERs are a way of understanding how burdened the system is in that area. Other factors included the number of doctors per capita and the percentage of the population without health insurance.

Emergency room statistics are from the Press Ganey Associates' 2008 Emergency Department Pulse Report, physician statistics come from the United Health Foundation (UHF), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System provided the rest.

Here, the eight states with the worst healthcare.


1. Nevada.

Las Vegas is the prime draw for many tourists to Nevada, so it's no surprise that Nevadans like to gamble. However, statistics show that more than 20 percent of them gamble with their healthcare, as they have no health insurance. For those who do have insurance, they don't have many primary care doctors to choose from. According to UHF, for every 100,000 people, there are only 86 doctors. (By comparison, the best state in this category, Massachusetts, has 187 physicians for every 100,000 people.) To top it off, people in Nevada can expect to spend five hours and 15 minutes waiting when they go to the emergency room.

2. Arizona.

Arizona scored in the bottom 10 in all categories measured. Like Nevadans, people in Arizona wait an average of five hours and 15 minutes when they go to the ER. More than 18 percent of them don't have health insurance, and a quarter of them have never had their cholesterol checked, according to the CDC. As for the number of family physicians, there are only 92 for every 100,000 residents.

3. New Mexico.

Another southwestern state that scores poorly, New Mexico has the second largest uninsured population in the country, with more than 22 percent of residents who are not covered. Add to that nearly 27 percent of people who have never had their cholesterol checked and a four-and-a-half hour wait time at the ER, and it's no surprise to find New Mexico on this list.

4. Texas.

The only state with a larger uninsured population than New Mexico, a whopping 25.7 percent of Texans have no health insurance. Part of the reason for the high rates of uninsured people may be due to the fact that less than half of all Texas firms offer health insurance, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. (At the highest end of the spectrum, in Hawaii, nearly 90 percent of all firms offer health benefits.) Plus, Texas has only 96 doctors per 100,000 people.

5. Arkansas.

With the fifth worst rate of uninsured residents, Arkansas has just over 20 percent of its residents without health coverage. Only 45 percent of businesses in Arkansas offer health insurance, the sixth lowest in the country. Arkansas also has less than 100 doctors for every 100,000 people. On a positive note, wait times in the ER are relatively short: about three and a half hours.

6. Utah.

The longest average wait times at the ER happen in Utah. An emergency room visit can take six hours and 25 minutes-the same amount of time it would take to fly to Hawaii (where the average ER wait is at least three hours shorter). Utah also has the least amount of people who have had their cholesterol checked. On the flip side, a relatively low percentage of the population is uninsured: only 15.3 percent.

7. Oklahoma.

Of all the states, Oklahoma has the fewest family doctors, with only 79.7 per 100,000 people. It also has a high rate of uninsured people, at just over 20 percent. While 12 percent of residents of Massachusetts and Washington, D.C., have never had their cholesterol checked, that percentage is doubled to 24 percent in Oklahoma.

8. Idaho.

Ahead of only Oklahoma in the number of doctors, Idaho has 79.9 general practice physicians for every 100,000 people. Perhaps this accounts for why almost 28 percent of Idahoans have never had their cholesterol levels checked. The best thing about health care in Idaho? It's the only state on this list that averages less than a three hour wait at the ER.