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'Medical Homes' Help Kids Get Comprehensive Care
Date:3/14/2011

e poor, non-English speaking families and the uninsured.

About 61 percent of children whose parents said they were in excellent or very good health had a medical home, compared to 35 percent of kids in fair or poor health.

"This is especially concerning because children in poorer health need more from their medical home," Strickland said.

Across the health-care spectrum, the federal government, private insurers and primary-care physicians are increasingly looking to medical homes as one solution to offer less expensive, but more comprehensive care for patients with chronic illnesses, Strickland said.

Children without a medical home were three to four times more likely to have an unmet medical or dental need, according to the study, published online March 14 in the journal Pediatrics.

Children who received care in medical homes were also more likely to have annual preventive medical visits, the study found.

Dr. Michael Barr is senior vice president in the division of medical practice, professionalism and quality for the American College of Physicians, which represents internists. He said that by putting the focus on preventive care and properly managing diseases, medical homes should help patients stay healthier and cost the health care system less over time.

"This study is another indication that well-organized, accessible health care that is patient- or family-centered really pays in terms of improving health care for children, not just those with special and chronic needs but pediatrics in general," Barr said. "This is confirming this is a model that works."

In the survey, nearly all children -- 93 percent -- had a usual source of care, and about the same number had a personal physician or nurse. About 82 percent of parents said they had few problems obtaining referrals, 69 percent said they received help with coordinating care when needed and 67 percent said they received family-centered care.

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