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Matern Child Health J. 2012 Dec;16 Suppl 2:330-8. doi: 10.1007/s10995-012-1131-7.

Does a medical home mediate racial disparities in unmet healthcare needs among children with special healthcare needs?

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Division of Epidemiology/Biostatistics, School of Public Health, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1603 W Taylor St, Chicago, IL 60612, USA.


This study extends mediation analysis techniques to explore whether and to what extent differential access to a medical home explains the black/white disparity in unmet healthcare needs among children with special healthcare needs (CSHCN). Data were obtained from the 2007 National Survey of Children's Health, with analyses limited to non-Hispanic white and black CSHCN (n = 14,677). The counterfactual approach to mediation analysis was used to estimate odds ratios for the natural direct and indirect effects of race on unmet healthcare needs. Overall, 43.0 % of white CSHCN and 60.4 % of black CSHCN did not have a medical home. Additionally, 8.8 % of white CSHCN and 15.3 % of black CSHCN had unmet healthcare needs. The natural indirect effect indicates that the odds of unmet needs among black CSHCN are elevated by approximately 20 % as a result of their current level of access to the medical home rather than access at a level equal to white CSHCN (OR(NIE) = 1.2, 95 % CI = 1.1, 1.3). The natural direct effect indicates that even if black CSHCN had the same level of access to a medical home as white CSHCN, blacks would still have 60 % higher odds of unmet healthcare needs than whites (OR(NDE) = 1.6, 95 % CI = 1.1, 2.4). The racial disparity in unmet healthcare needs among CSHCN is only partially explained by disparities in having a medical home. Ensuring all CSHCN have equal access to a medical home may reduce the racial disparity in unmet needs, but will not completely eliminate it.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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