A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Survey finds majority of children in the region are able to get the health care they need


Families, health care providers, community partners and others are working together to ensure that children in the Greater Cincinnati region have the best possible health outcomes.

Source: Interact for Health: Click to enlarge.

The availability of health care in the region is a critical ingredient. Kids need the right type of care at the right time and for the right price. For these reasons, the 2017 Child Well-Being Survey addressed several topics that impact a child’s interactions with the health care system, including access to health care, health insurance coverage and delayed care.

The 2017 Child Well-Being Survey is funded by Interact for Health and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, with support from the United Way of Greater Cincinnati. It was conducted March 5-Aug. 9, 2017, by the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati.

A random sample of 2,757 adult caregivers from a 22-county region in Southwest Ohio, Northern Kentucky and Southeast Indiana was interviewed by telephone and the estimates will be accurate to ± 1.9 percent. For more information about the Child Well-Being Survey, click here.

Right type: Most children have appropriate source of health care
Nearly all parents and guardians (98 percent) reported that when their child is sick or they need advice about health care, their child has a place that they usually go.

When accessing health care, it is also important that children are getting care from an appropriate source. Preventative care and many routine childhood illnesses are best treated in the private doctor’s office or community-based clinic, rather than an emergency room or urgent care center.

Thus, the Child Well-Being Survey asked caregivers where they usually take their children for care. Of those surveyed, 90 percent reported that they have an appropriate place for care, with private physicians’ offices (74 percent) and community-based health centers or public health clinics (12 percent) being the most commonly reported sources.

Children from families earning less than 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines were more likely to use urgent care or emergency rooms as a regular source for their child’s health care.

“Making sure that children get quality health care, in the right place and at the right time is important to our kids and their families, but it also impacts our broader community,” said Dr. O’dell Moreno Owens, M.D., president and CEO of Interact for Health. “As we look at long-term health issues affecting our neighborhoods, we must include solutions that provide children with consistent and appropriate care, such as the school-based health centers Interact for Health supports in our region.”

Right time: Majority of kids got necessary care

Source: Interact for Health. Click to enlarge

Parents often know when their child needs to receive health services, but a variety of factors may cause care to be postponed.

The Child Well-Being Survey asked caregivers if, at any time in the last 12 months, their child needed health care but it was delayed or not received, and why. Once again, overall, parents and guardians reported that kids are getting care, with about 9 in 10 (93 percent) saying that their child received health care when it was needed.

Among the remaining patients who had to postpone care, 36 percent delayed medical care, 30 percent delayed dental care, 11 percent delayed mental or behavioral health care, and 16 percent delayed two or more services.

The most common reasons for delay were: 1) insurance-related causes, such as patients being unable to find a provider who accepted their insurance, being uninsured or other administrative issues; and 2) availability of care, including patients not being able to get timely appointments, patients being unable to get to the provider during office hours and patients who could not find a provider for their condition.

Right price: Most children covered by insurance

The Child Well-Being Survey also looked at insurance coverage among children in our region. Again, the vast majority of kids in the Greater Cincinnati region have health insurance, with 98 percent of families reporting that their child had coverage within the last 12 months.

Private health insurance was the most common type, with 64 percent of children covered by a private plan, followed by Medicaid/the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) (28 percent) and Medicare (3 percent). Coverage varied among certain groups: African American children and children age 5 and under were more likely to have Medicaid or CHIP coverage than children of other racial backgrounds or ages.

“At United Way, we are looking at the intersection of health and income,” said Ross Meyer, senior vice president of community impact for United Way of Greater Cincinnati. “A child’s short-term illness or chronic medical condition can have significant impact on a family’s finances, and thus it’s important to ensure that children in our region have access to public or private health insurance coverage.”

Interact for Health serve as a catalyst to improve health in the region by promoting health equity through grants, education, research, policy and engagement.

To amplify the impact of its work, Interact for Health focuses on three strategic priorities: reducing tobacco use, addressing the opioid epidemic and ensuring that children have access to health care through school-based health centers. It is an independent foundation that serves 20 counties in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.

Interact for Health

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