Fewer than 40% of low-income mothers covered by Medicaid with children between the ages of three and six have a regular source for dental care, according to a study in the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved.
The study compared the percentage of mothers with Medicaid-eligible children in Washington state that have a regular dental care source across different racial and ethnic groups. About 38% of mothers surveyed had a provider for dental care, with little variation among racial and ethnic groups, researchers found.
The authors took note of associations between white, black and Hispanic mothers' income, education, insurance status and mental health state with having dental care. Access to local dentists and public dental health clinics also was associated with regular dental care for white and Hispanic mothers, according to the study (Grembowski et al., Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, November 2007).
A study in the American Journal of Public Health found that self-discharges or discharges against medical advice in emergency departments represent about one in 70 discharges and are more likely to be younger, non-White men with low socioeconomic backgrounds.
The study analyzed data from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample of the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project and found that patients discharged against medical advice had fewer procedures, fewer diagnoses and lower hospital charges than people who were discharged by their health care provider.
The study concluded that higher rates of discharges against medical advice might indicate shortcomings in the medical system and could bolster the case that health care delivery systems need to be more culturally sensitive for some patients (Ibrahim et al., American Journal of Public Health, December 2007).