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Matern Child Health J. 2008 Sep;12(5):650-61. Epub 2007 Sep 25.

Unmet need among children with special health care needs in Massachusetts.

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Center for Child and Adolescent Health Policy, Massachusetts General Hospital for Children, 50 Staniford Street, Suite 901, Boston, MA 02114, USA.



We partnered with a Massachusetts family workgroup to analyze state level data that would be most useful to consumers and advocates in Massachusetts.


Massachusetts' and US data from the 2001 National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs (NSCSHCN) were analyzed. We examined types of need and prevalence of unmet need for all CSHCN and for more severely affected CSHCN. We also correlated unmet need to child and family characteristics using multivariate logistic regression.


In Massachusetts, 17% of CSHCN and 37% of children more severely affected did not receive needed care. CSHCN who were uninsured anytime during the previous year were nearly 5 times more likely to experience an unmet need (OR = 4.95, CI: 1.69-14.51). Children with more functional limitations (OR = 3.15; CI: 1.59-6.24) and unstable health care needs (OR = 3.26; CI: 1.33-8.00) were also more likely to experience an unmet need. Receiving coordinated care in a medical home (OR = 0.46; CI: 0.23-0.90) was associated with reduced reports of unmet need.


With input from families of CSHCN, researchers can direct their analyses to answering the questions and concerns most meaningful to families. We estimate that 1 in 6 CSHCN in Massachusetts did not receive needed care, with more than 1 in 3 CSHCN with a more severe condition experiencing an unmet need. Enabling factors were predictors of unmet need suggesting solutions such as expanding insurance coverage and improving services systems for CSHCN.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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