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Majority of children don’t get appropriate health care

Up to three-quarters of children and adolescents don’t get appropriate care

Washington, D.C., April 15, 2004—Despite a number of noted successes, American children largely don’t get the quality of health care they should, with up to three-quarters of children and adolescents not receiving care scientifically proven or recommended, according to a new overview of children’s health care released today by The Commonwealth Fund.

The review, Quality of Health Care for Children and Adolescents: A Chartbook, shows a number of clear advances in children’s health care and improved outcomes on a series of measures. But it also notes that one-third of children with asthma don’t get appropriate controller medications and three-fourths of children with severe mental health problems don’t get evaluation or treatment. In addition, it illustrates ongoing racial disparities in care and inadequate attention to widely effective preventive measures.

Distilled from a review of 500 studies, the report illustrates through 40 charts and commentary the quality of care children receive in numerous categories, such as preventive care and treatment of chronic conditions. The chartbook was produced by Sheila Leatherman, research professor at the University of North Carolina School of Public Health, and Douglas McCarthy, president of Issues Research, Inc., based in Durango, CO, in consultation with national experts in child and adolescent care quality.

“Given the fact that we spend far more on health care than other countries, we should be doing better for our children,” Leatherman said. “The report shows dangerous lapses in patient safety, substantial shortcomings in providing effective and recommended care, persistent racial and ethnic disparities in care, and widespread failure to provide needed preventive services to teens.”

For reference see:  The Commonwealth Fund

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