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Unmet medical needs are most common among vulnerable children
Date:1/26/2009

en between 1998 and 2006, from 4.7 to 6.2. In addition, the odds of reporting unmet medical needs among children without a USC rose from 3.7 to 5.3 compared with children who identified a private office as a USC.

"Our research shows that these government programs have not yet fully addressed the health care needs of the most vulnerable children," says lead study author Leesha K. Hoilette, M.D., a pediatric health services research fellow with the CHEAR Unit.

"As the nation continues to focus on the future of health care, and, in particular, health care for children, it seems insufficient to focus policy efforts on either health care coverage or access alone," Hoilette says. "Initiatives must be targeted in tandem to increase both coverage and access and reduce unmet medical need."

Researchers analyzed data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Health Interview Survey. Their findings show:

  • The distribution of children according to insurance status changed significantly in 2006 from 1998, with higher proportions enrolled in public programs and lower proportions privately insured.
  • The proportion of uninsured children has remained stable from 2002-2006, at approximately 10 percent. However, the proportion of uninsured reporting no USC increased over the same time period. (23 percent in 2006).
  • Hispanic children now constitute the largest proportions of uninsured children and those reporting no USC.
  • Private offices continued to be a USC for the bulk of children regardless of insurance status. However, the proportions of uninsured and SCHIP-enrolled children who identified a private office as a USC has decreased recently.
  • With increasing proportions of uninsured children reporting no USC despite the overall proportion remaining stable, there is troubling shift toward reporting no USC, the researchers say.
  • Uninsured children and children without a USC reported the highest
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Contact: Katie Vloet
kgazella@umich.edu
734-764-2220
University of Michigan Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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