Study: Healthy Kids Program Improves Preventive Care
Children enrolled in Santa Clara County's Healthy Kids program have less school absences, receive better dental care and require fewer physician visits, according to a new study by Mathematica Policy Research, the San Jose Mercury News reports.
Santa Clara County was the first county in California to launch a Healthy Kids program, and it has been used as a model to develop similar programs statewide.
Healthy Kids programs throughout California provide health care coverage for uninsured children who do not qualify for other state- or federally-funded health insurance programs. The majority of enrollees are undocumented immigrant children.
The program is financed mostly by the county's share of tobacco settlement funds, county subsidies and foundation grants.
The study found that the number of Healthy Kids beneficiaries who visited a physician while in good health rose from 42% to 53% over the past six months. The finding demonstrates that more children are practicing preventive health care, according to the Mercury News.
Researchers also found that the rate of multiple physician visits because of an illness decreased from 20% at the start of enrollment to 10% after one year in the program. The decline shows that chronic illnesses are being better managed, the Mercury News reports.
Santa Clara County's Healthy Kids program this year will cost almost $12 million and serves about 13,000 children. There is a waiting list of about 900 (Feder Ostrov, San Jose Mercury News, 6/22).