The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA

5012.0: Wednesday, November 13, 2002 - Board 8

Abstract #41682

Managed Care Public Aid as a Barrier to Healthcare Access for Chicago's Homeless Children

Margaret Scotellaro, MD, Jeannie Aschkenasy, PhD, Beth Volin, MD, Carol Showel, Michelle Camburn, Psy D, Colleen Flynn, LCSW, and Regina Taylor, RN. Pediatrics, Rush Children's Hospital, 630 S. Hermitage, Suite 601, Chicago, IL 60612

Background: Kids-Shelter Health Improvement Project (Kids-SHIP) was established in 1997 as a centralized facility at Rush Children's Hospital to provide comprehensive healthcare to Chicago's homeless children. In 2000, two outreach pediatricians were hired to provide additional healthcare and education in the shelters and to facilitate referrals to the Kids-SHIP clinic.

Design/Methods: Information was collected from all families who met with the outreach pediatricians regarding their current medical plan. Information was also gathered to determine whether families were currently receiving medical care for their children.

Results: Since the addition of the outreach pediatricians, the number of patients seen in the Kids-SHIP clinic has tripled from 30 in 1999 to 103 in 2000. Of the 1089 children seen in the shelters, 69% had traditional public aid, 14% had managed care public aid, and 16% had no medical coverage. Sixty-six percent of children receiving managed care public aid had no accessible physician compared to only 37% of children with traditional public aid.

Conclusions: Homeless children receiving managed care public aid are substantially less likely to have an accessible physician than those receiving traditional public aid, since managed care programs assign one physician who must provide all routine care. Homeless families relocate frequently and have little access to transportation, therefore it is important that they have flexibility in seeking medical care at local health facilities. Homeless children and families in Chicago should be enrolled in traditional public aid to facilitate their access to medical care.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Homeless Health Care, Managed Care

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Homeless and Health Research

The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA