Children whose parents lack a usual source of care are more likely to have unmet medical needs

Research Activities, May 2012, No. 381

Children with a usual source of care (USC) have more consistent access to health care services, which likely contributes to better health outcomes. However, children with a USC whose parents did not have a USC (12.4 percent of the children surveyed) had a higher likelihood of several unmet health care needs when compared to children with a USC whose parents had a USC. That's the finding of a new study by a team of researchers led by Jennifer E. DeVoe, M.D., of the Oregon Health & Science University. Unmet needs included an insurance coverage gap, an unmet medical or prescription need, and no yearly dental visits.

The researchers analyzed data on 56,302 children and their parents drawn from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), weighted to a population of nearly 70.9 million children. They found that 78.6 percent of children had a USC and at least one parent with a USC, 12.4 percent had a USC but neither parent had a USC, 2.5 percent had no USC but at least one parent had a USC, and 6.5 percent had no USC and no parent had a USC. The researchers suggest that policy reforms should ensure access to a USC for all family members. This study was supported in part by AHRQ (HS18569).

See "Parent and child usual source of care and children's receipt of health care services" by Dr. DeVoe, Carrie J. Tillotson, M.P.H., Lorraine S. Wallace, Ph.D., and others in the Annals of Family Medicine 9, pp. 504-513, 2011.

Current as of May 2012
Internet Citation: Children whose parents lack a usual source of care are more likely to have unmet medical needs: Research Activities, May 2012, No. 381. May 2012. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/news/newsletters/research-activities/may12/0512RA21.html