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Med Care Res Rev. 2012 Oct;69(5):581-601. doi: 10.1177/1077558712453335. Epub 2012 Jul 26.

Understanding the gap in primary care access and use between teens and younger children.

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1
1Department of Population Health Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, WI 53726, USA. meburns@wisc.edu

Abstract

Primary health care use among teenagers falls short of clinical recommendations and consistently lags behind that of younger children. Using the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, the authors explore three explanations for this age-related gap: family composition, parental awareness of children's health care needs, and the relative role of predisposing, enabling, and need-based factors for teens and younger children. Teenagers are 64% more likely to have no usual source of care and 25% more likely to have had no health care visit in the prior year relative to younger children. The gap narrows in families with children from both age-groups and among children with special health care needs. The largest disparity in primary care access exists between teens in families with no younger sibling(s) and younger children in families with no teen(s). A resolution to the age-related access gap will likely require understanding of, and intervention into, family-level determinants of poor access.

PMID:
22842583
DOI:
10.1177/1077558712453335
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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