The Impact of Realized Access to Care on Health-Related Quality of Life

A Two-Year Prospective Cohort Study of Children in the California State Children's Health Insurance Program

Published in: The Journal of Pediatrics, v. 149, no. 3, Sep. 2006. p. 354-361

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 2005

by Michael Seid, James W. Varni, Lesley Cummings, Matthias Schonlau

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OBJECTIVE: To examine the effect of realized access to care (problems getting care, access to needed care) on health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in the California State Children's Health Insurance Program. STUDY DESIGN: This was a prospective cohort study (n = 4,925; 70.5% [3438] had complete data). Surveys were taken at enrollment and after 1 and 2 years in the program. Parents and children reported HRQOL (PedsQL 4.0 Generic Core Scales). Repeated-measures analysis accounted for within-person correlation and adjusted for baseline PedsQLi, baseline realized access, race/ethnicity, language, chronic health condition, and having a regular physician. RESULTS: Realized access to care during the prior year was related to HRQOL for each subsequent year. Foregone care and problems getting care were associated with decrements of 3.5 (P < .001) and 4.5 (P < .001) points for parent proxy-report PedsQL and with decrements of 3.2 (P < .001) and 4.4 (P < .001) points for child self-report PedsQL. Improved realized access resulted in higher PedsQL scores, continued realized access resulted in sustained PedsQL scores, and foregone care resulted in cumulative declines in PedsQL scores. CONCLUSIONS: Realized access to care is associated with statistically significant and clinically meaningful changes in HRQOL in children enrolled in the California State Children's Health Insurance Program.

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