Online Program

Family Perspectives on Lack of Access to Public Health Insurance for Undocumented Children

Monday, November 2, 2015

Caren Steinway, MSW, MPH, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Colleen McCauley, RN, BSN, MPH, Public Citizens for Children and Youth, Philadelphia, PA
Kathleen Noonan, JD, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA
Katherine Yun, MD, MHS, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA
Pennsylvania children without a qualified immigration status, often referred to as undocumented children, are not eligible for Medicaid and CHIP.  This leaves many children with limited access to appropriate medical care.

Methods: We developed a survey to understand the impact not having health insurance on undocumented children and their families. Close and open ending questions focuses on access to care, utilization of care, and the impact of illness on children and their families. The survey will be administered to fifty caregivers throughout the greater Philadelphia area. Participants have been identified through community organizations that serve this population.

Preliminary Results: To date there are 43 completed surveys. Although most participants reported having a primary place to obtain healthcare services (97%), many families report a time when needed care was delayed or not received (84%). Most often this was dental care (54%). Further, 97% of participants reported being frustrated by efforts to obtain care always, usually, or sometimes. Themes emerging from preliminary qualitative analysis of responses to open ended questions include “sheltering an undocumented children” in mixed status households and “frustration” in not being able to obtain public health insurance. The remaining surveys will be completed by February 30, 2015. Analysis will be complete by April 15, 2015.

Undocumented children in the Philadelphia area have access to primary care services but lack access to additional medical care. This leads caregivers to delay treatment, forego care, and become frustrated by efforts to obtain care for their child.

Learning Areas:

Diversity and culture
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe parent-identified barriers to health care services for their undocumented children.

Keyword(s): Immigrant Health, Health Care Access

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a current graduate student in social work and public health. Throughout my graduate school experience I have engaged with community organizations that serve immigrant communities. Further, I have spent time talking with immigrant families about access to health care services for their children.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.