A study of children in a dozen metropolitan areas found that they got the recommended medical care from their doctors less than half of the time. This means that kids are doing worse than adults in this country when it comes to getting good doctor care. “Doctors did best with acute problems, such as upper-respiratory-tract infections, treating them correctly about two-thirds of the time. But with chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes, they gave the right care 53% of the time. The worst showing was in preventive care: 41%.”
Part of the reason for this may be that physicians are trained more extensively in solving health problems than in preventing health problems. Another reason may be insurance companies’ failure to adequately reimburse primary care physicians, including pediatricians. In any event, the study – the first comprehensive look at quality of care for U.S. children – should be an eye-opener.
The standards for adult health care are higher in this country because most insurance companies follow guidelines set by Medicare, which covers adults nationwide. “But children with public insurance are covered by Medicaid or the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, whose care standards vary among states.” Children’s health depends on where they live.
What’s most unsettling is that the results of this study portray a best-case scenario. The majority of the children in the study were middle-class and privately insured. All had visited doctors in the previous two years.
KIDS GET CORRECT CARE FROM DOCTORS LESS THAN HALF THE TIME
by Marilyn Elias
October 11, 2007