According to the Kaiser Family Foundation in Washington almost all (95%) of children have medical insurance. ALL low-income (below 300% of the federal poverty level) children have access as part of Apple Health for Kids.
This chart shows the performance of all the Apple Health plans at actually getting low-income kids to visit the doctor on the recommended schedule. 56% of infants received the typical schedule of well-child visits. As you can see we are both significantly below the national average (61.55%,) and more importantly totally pathetic in an absolute sense. You can read the full report here.
Why is the early learning guy writing about this you ask? Well… if our goal is to have all kids being ready for kindergarten by age five, then the earlier we can provide appropriate care for a child who’s experiencing a developmental delay the more likely we are to be able to have the best possible outcome. The pediatrician is the person most likely to discover a concern and provide the family with free options, but this won’t work if the kid doesn’t appear in the office.
As part of our Essentials for Childhood effort to coordinate the activities of the Department of Health and the Department of Early Learning we’re looking into problems like this and finding ways to work together to coordinate services for children in Washington.
I’m particularly frustrated by this one because we pay the managed care organizations to coordinate this care. My personal thought is that we don’t pay the plans at all if they don’t get the kids to show up, but there is probably a more nuanced approach to solving the problem that will work better. We’re working on this.