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Many healthcare providers in the city and the state are not screening enough of their low income, mostly African-American clients for lead poisoning, according to a study released by Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. On average, 76 percent of children enrolled in Medicaid plans and 68 percent of those enrolled in Child Health Plus were screened for lead poisoning in 2002. While most providers performed at or above the average, some, including HIP and WellCare, performed below average, at 67 percent and 56 percent for Medicaid recipients, respectively. A 1992 New York State law holds that all healthcare providers must screen children between the ages of one and two for lead poisoning. A representative from Empire Blue said they are working to screen more of their clients but added that infrequent medical visits makes screening all children difficult. Mari Arce, a spokesperson for the Attorney General, said the office may take legal action if the low rates persist. [07/26/04]

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