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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

ts from getting primary and specialty health care in non-hospital settings. One major factor is the uneven distribution of primary and specialty care providers across the District. Other barriers cited by District residents in the study include a perceived lack of provider understanding of cultural and neighborhood issues, as well as a limited availability of health care providers who speak languages other than English. The study also finds that particular health conditions and health behaviors require special attention because of their prevalence and potential severity. Although children are generally healthier than adults, researchers identified several chronic health conditions that are prevalent among District youth, including asthma, sickle cell anemia, HIV/AIDS and obesity.

"Children with asthma, in particular, are substantial users of hospital-based care," said Carole Roan Gresenz, a study co-author and senior economist at RAND. "District of Columbia leaders will want to focus on services that will help children manage their asthma and other chronic conditions before they end up in the emergency department or hospital."

Researchers find that socioeconomic, environment and safety conditions also are crucial issues facing District youth.

Though the rate of children in poverty in the District has declined in recent years, the percentage of children who live in poverty in the District remains higher than the national percentage (23 percent versus 18 percent).

Safety and violence are particularly important issues. The rate of dating violence in the District increased from 11 percent to 17 percent from 2005 to 2007, and rates of child abuse and neglect are twice the national average. As a result, far more children are in the District's foster care system than the national average.

The study includes a unique synthesis of information from previous research, including vital statistic reports and studies of school nurs
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Contact: Joe Dougherty
media@rand.org
703-413-1100 x5117
RAND Corporation
Source:Eurekalert

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