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Study finds race, ethnicity impact access to care for children with frequent ear infections
Date:10/25/2010

resentative sample of the U.S. population.

Parents of children under the age of 18 were asked various questions, including whether their child had three or more ear infections over the previous 12 months. For those who answered yes, researchers pulled demographic data including age, sex, race/ethnicity, income level and insurance status to determine the influence of these variables on frequent ear infections.

The study found that each year, 4.6 million children reportedly had "frequent" ear infections defined as more than three infections over a 12-month period. Overall, 3.7 percent of children with frequent ear infections could not afford care, 5.6 percent could not afford prescriptions and only 25.8 percent saw a specialist.

Among the study's other findings for children with frequent ear infections:

  • A greater percentage of African American children (42.7 percent) and Hispanic children (34.5 percent) lived below the poverty level than white children (12.0 percent) and those of "other ethnicity" (28.0 percent).
  • A greater percentage of Hispanic children (18.2 percent) and "other ethnicity" children (16.6 percent) were uninsured, compared with whites (6.5 percent).
  • A greater percentage of white children (29.2 percent) reported having access to specialty care than African American children (20.0 percent), Hispanic children (17.5 percent) and "other ethnicity" children (18.9 percent).
  • A greater percentage of African American children (28.4 percent) and Hispanic children (19.8 percent) visited the emergency room at least twice for ear infections over a 12-month period than white children (15.5 percent).

"Emergency room visits for ear infections by African American and Hispanic children may represent their source of primary care services, which is more costly and a significant burden on the health care system," Shapiro said. "This finding, along with the fact that fewer Hispan
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Contact: Amy Albin
aalbin@mednet.ucla.edu
310-794-8672
University of California -- Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

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