California Has Most Potential To Improve Access to Pediatric Care
California has the greatest potential to improve access to pediatric care for children covered by public health programs, according to a study presented on Monday at the American Statistical Association's 2015 Joint Statistical Meetings, Medical Daily's "The Hill" reports.
Details of Study
For the study, researchers examined pediatric primary care services for publicly and privately insured patients in seven states:
- North Carolina; and
The states were selected because of their varying sizes and demographics, as well as their different approaches to implementing Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program.
The study cohort included more than nine million children across the seven states.
Access to care was determined by the distance and time it would take for patients to get to their provider (Olson, "The Hill," Medical Daily, 8/10). Meanwhile, availability was measured by patients' opportunity to choose among various providers.
Overall, the study found that travel distance disparities were greater than disparities in wait times for pediatric care.
The study also found that:
- Publicly insured children generally faced lower accessibility than privately insured children; and
- Rural and urban communities across the states could further improve accessibility for publicly insured children.
California had the lowest median distance to care for privately insured patients among the seven states examined in the study (ASA release, 8/10).
In addition, the study found that pediatric providers in California were among the most accessible for publicly insured patients ("The Hill," Medical Daily, 8/10). Still, researchers found that California had the highest potential to improve access to care for publicly insured children.
About 35% of the state's publicly insured children had to travel two miles farther to access care than their privately insured counterparts.
According to the study, policies that incentivize providers to accept public insurance could improve access in the state (ASA release, 8/10).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.