Access and Quality in Child Health Services

Voltage Drops: Whether Access Is Approached Incrementally or Comprehensively, Children Will Not Fully Realize the Benefits Until Quality Is Addressed

Published in: Health Affairs, v. 23, no. 5, Sep./Oct. 2004, p. 77-87

Posted on on December 31, 2003

by Paul J. Chung, Mark A. Schuster

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Children require a health care system that promotes healthy development for all children while reaching out to the neediest. Barriers to care have been described as voltage drops-resistance points at which patients drop from the system like voltage from an electrical current. The authors examine the size and nature of these drops, ranging from insurance access to service quality, with respect to children. The authors find critical policy needs (such as expanded insurance opportunities, increased care coordination, and improved quality measurement) at all system levels. Comprehensive access to insurance and services does not guarantee that children will receive high-quality (safe and effective) care.

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