While state-funded health insurance for children of the working poor can reduce financial barriers to access, non-financial barriers continue to discourage the use of services for minority groups. That is among the key findings of a study conducted by a team of researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center that is being presented today at the 1998 Pediatric Societies' annual meeting.
The researchers studied the impact of Child Health Plus on access, utilization and satisfaction for racial and ethnic minority groups. Child Health Plus is a New York State-funded health insurance program for low-income families that was introduced in 1991.
The 18-month study involved extensive telephone interviews with more than 1,800 Child Health Plus enrollees, parents or guardians of children ages 0-13 years who enrolled in the program between July 1992 and July 1993 and who had been covered by the program for at least nine months. Participants were asked a number of questions about demographics, family size, and income as well as use of health care services during the 12 months prior to Child Health Plus coverage and the first 12 months following their enrollment.
In addition to establishing whether or not the participants had a "medical home" and how they used it, researchers gathered information on travel time, distance, hours of availability, ease of use and other variables. They compared these factors both before and after enrolling in Child Health Plus. Interviewers also asked participants about their level of satisfaction with Child Health Plus. The evaluation study was funded by the Department of Health as part of its initial legislation to create the program.
"Child Health Plus appears to have leveled the playing field in
terms of having a medical home," said Laura Pollard Shone, MSW,
principal investigator for the study. "However, there are still
some racial and ethnic disparities with regard to the reported
ease of use, such as the ability to g
Contact: Teri D'Agostino
University of Rochester