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Major health care challenges persist for D.C. children despite high rates of health insurance coverage, RAND study finds
Date:10/8/2009

Despite high rates of health insurance coverage among children in the District of Columbia, children's access to health care is inadequate and poses a significant health problem for the city's young residents, particularly those who are publicly insured, according to a RAND Corporation study issued today.

The study, conducted by RAND Health and funded by Children's National Medical Center, assesses health and health care among the more than 100,000 youth residing in Washington, D.C. Researchers suggest that health promotion efforts must focus on a partnership involving numerous private and public sector organizations that serve children, including schools, community-based organizations and child care centers.

The District of Columbia leads the nation in children with health coverage, with only 3.5 percent estimated to be uninsured in 2007. Nationally, an estimated 9.1 percent of children lack health insurance.

"But having health insurance in the District of Columbia does not automatically translate into access to health care," said Anita Chandra, the report's lead author and a behavioral scientist at RAND.

Access problems appear especially profound for children who have publicly funded insurance. The study finds that rates of well-child care among publicly insured children are substantially below national norms and more than one in four publicly insured children in the District receives care at a hospital emergency department at least once a year.

The study is the first to comprehensively focus on children's health issues and examine not only the health service delivery system, but the communities in which children live in the District of Columbia. Researchers aim to provide a foundation for District policymakers to examine children's health issues, as well as assist the Children's National Medical Center in allocating its community benefit resources.

The study finds that numerous barriers prevent residen
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Contact: Joe Dougherty
media@rand.org
703-413-1100 x5117
RAND Corporation
Source:Eurekalert

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