Access to Care
Evidence shows that insurance coverage, whether private or public, results in improved health outcomes in children, such as: improved prenatal care (thus reducing infant mortality and low birth weight), reduced avoidable hospitalizations of children, and increased probability that children will receive recommended immunizations. Other studies have shown that improved access to public health insurance at birth improved children’s performance on standardized reading tests.
The 2014 National Healthcare Quality and National Healthcare Disparities Reports demonstrates that the nation has made clear progress in improving the health care delivery system to achieve the three aims of better care, smarter spending, and healthier people, but there is still more work to do, specifically to address disparities in care in the pediatric population. Through health care reform, an estimated 20 million people have gained health insurance. Healthcare reform prohibits coverage denials and reduced benefits, protecting up to as many as 19 million children who have some type of pre-existing health condition. The elimination of lifetime and annual limits on insurance coverage and the newly established annual limits on out-of-pocket spending on essential health benefits is benefiting nearly 28 million children and has resulted in improved access to care, however challenges for health care reform persist. While more patients have access to insurance now because of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), that is not the same thing as having access to a physician. Timely access to primary care has been a point of concern since the implementation of the ACA.
For Additional Resources:
Principles of Health Care Financing
Access to care depends on the design and implementation of payment systems that ensure the economic viability of the medical home; support and grow the professional pediatric workforce; promote the adoption and implementation of health information technology; enhance medical education, training, and research; and encourage and reward quality-improvement programs that advance and strengthen the medical home.
A Survey of America’s Physicians: Practice Patterns and Perspectives
American patients are likely to experience significant and increasing challenges in accessing care if current physician practice patterns trends continue, according to a comprehensive new survey of practicing physicians. One of the largest physician surveys ever undertaken in the U.S., the research was commissioned by The Physicians Foundation.
Summary Health Statistics Tables for US Children: National Health Interview Survey 2014
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), in 2014 the percent of children who had contact with a health care professional in the past year was 92.4%. View the CDC pediatric healthcare statistics 2014 to obtain data at the National level for pediatric access to care.