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Medical homes linked to better health, school performance
Date:9/6/2011

archers surveyed 4,011 children from 21 of the 24 Healthy Kids programs (including the largest in Los Angeles). The sample consisted mostly of Latino children in low-income, undocumented and predominantly Spanish-speaking families. Nearly 95 percent of the 2,230 families actually reached cooperated. The sample was divided into three groups: established enrollees (in the program for one year or longer), new enrollees (less than one year) and children on a waitlist.

In a study that appears in the September issue of Medical Care, the researchers found that those enrolled in Healthy Kids were more likely to have a regular source of health care and reported better medical home experiences than the children on a wait list. Children who were enrolled in the program for more than a year reported the best medical home experiences among the three groups.

In a separate study that was published online by Health Services Research, the researchers found that children who reported better medical home experiences missed fewer days at school and performed better overall, in math and in reading. For example, for every one-point increase in the medical home total score, the odds of missing fewer than three school days due to illness or injury in the past school year increased by 12 percent. Among the measured indicators of medical home quality, access was most strongly associated with improved health and school engagement.

"It supports the argument to keep providing affordable health insurance for undocumented kids," said Stevens. "Since these children are going to be left out of health care reform, the studies show the unique value of these public-private programs like Healthy Kids that were created to give them coverage."

Public health officials agree.

"These families who have no other access to health insurance, they are so grateful to get their child into the health care system," says Kena Burke, former director of the Healthy Kids p
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Contact: Alison Trinidad
alison.trinidad@usc.edu
323-442-3941
University of Southern California
Source:Eurekalert

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