Health Disparities

young child holding soccer ball

CCHAP Helps Children Beat The Odds

Health disparities (also referred to as health inequality and health equity issues) refers to the study of differences in the presence of disease, health outcomes, or access to health care across socioeconomic , racial, ethnic, and sexual orientation groups.

View a list of health disparities experienced by Colorado children.

In the health care of children, the major determinants of the child’s health are the socioeconomic barriers experienced by the family, the barriers to understanding and navigating the health care system, the behavioral health barriers for family members, and the stress of poverty experienced by the parent, so the entire family becomes the patient (not just the child).

While addressing health disparities requires significant resources, the cost savings associated with improved health is seen over the lifetime of a child. The most effective ways of reducing disparities and saving money for the health care system includes:

  • Addressing socioeconomic determinants of health (SEDH) for the whole family
  • Care coordination for the whole family
  • Addressing eligibility and enrollment issues in Medicaid and CHP+
  • Providing high quality medical homes to provide intensive preventive care

CCHAP Addresses Health Disparities

Across Colorado, over 500,000 children experience health inequities that negatively affect their lives and undermine their ability to grow up healthy.  Removing obstacles and creating access to quality health care is essential to reducing these disparities and is a key focus of CCHAP’s work. CCHAP focuses on helping medical homes caring for children in Colorado address the health disparities experienced by children who are in low income families and/or on public health insurance.

CCHAP’s work promotes intensive, preventive care for the whole-child (physical, mental, and oral). Through its work on the ground with providers and at the policy tables, CCHAP moves forward best practices that move the needle in addressing health disparities and the roots causes of poverty and its impact on health.

Data Snapshot:

  • 30% of Colorado children live in a household at or near the poverty level. (Colorado Coalition for the Medically Underserved)
  • Between 40-45% of newborns in Colorado are born into a family in or near poverty. (Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment)
  • There is a growing scientific knowledge base that links poverty with childhood toxic stress.
  • The stresses on the child as a result of living in, or close to poverty, can lead to disruptions of the developing nervous, cardiovascular, immune and metabolic systems.
  • There is growing evidence that these disruptions caused by the stress of poverty, food insecurity, and the lack of safe and supportive environments can lead to lifelong impairments in learning, behavior, and both physical and behavioral health.