Specialist Care May be Key to Reducing Hospitalizations for Kids with Asthma Enrolled in Medicaid

Developing and applying claims-based process of care measures for Medicaid-enrolled children with asthma

From 2000 to 2002, researchers from Georgetown University studied the extent to which care provided to children with asthma in different Medicaid settings follows national guidelines for appropriate asthma care, and whether differences in the process of care are associated with different rates of hospitalization.

Because asthma affects low-income, inner-city and African-American patients disproportionately, the researchers also studied disparities in care provided to African-American and Hispanic children relative to white children.

Key Findings

Researchers reported the following findings in Medical Care:

  • Children served by community health centers were more than twice as likely as those served by solo or group physician practices to have a follow-up physician visit within five days of being seen in an emergency department for asthma.
  • Children served by community health centers were 4.3 times as likely as patients of solo or group physician practices to have a follow-up visit for asthma care within five days of being hospitalized for asthma.
  • Children diagnosed with persistent asthma who received care at community health centers were 28 percent as likely as those served by solo or group physician practices to be seen by an asthma specialist.

Funding

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) supported this project through a grant of $166,875.