The Disparities

kids hula hoops

Data on health disparities is potentially confusing, because some data relates to income level of the family and some data relates to the child’s health care coverage: Medicaid, SCHIP (CHP+) or uninsured. For purposes of describing disparities below, low income is considered to be below 133% of the Federal Poverty Level and near poverty is considered to be between 133% and 250% of the FPL. And, 95% are eligible to have health care coverage by Medicaid or CHP+. They experience the following health disparities (as a group their health outcomes are statistically significantly poorer than children on commercial health insurance):

Morbidity and Mortality

  1. More serious illness (1.77 times)*
  2. Later diagnosis of serious illness
  3. More emergency room visits (1.85 times)*
  4. More hospitalizations (1.73 times)*
  5. Higher complication rates and poorer outcomes for chronic disease (1.78 times)
  6. Higher incidence of disabling conditions
  7. Children on Medicaid are 1.5 times as likely to have multiple, complex conditions
  8. Higher death rates (1.67 times)*
  9. Higher infant mortality rates
  10. Higher cost of care

Lack of Preventive Care – Preventable Conditions

  1. Lack a medical home (2 times)*
  2. Less preventive care in general
  3. Lower proportion of children who are fully immunized
  4. Higher rates of vaccine-preventable diseases (2.11 times)*
  5. Admitted to hospital for vaccine-preventable disease (2 times)*
  6. More dental cavities (2 times)
  7. Higher rate of obesity
  8. Higher rates of type II Diabetes (as a result of obesity)
  9. Asthmatics have higher rates of illness, emergency visits, hospitalization, (2 times), and higher death rates
  10. Higher rate of developmental delays, which are discovered later, and received therapy less often
  11. Higher rates of teen depression and are less often treated
  12. New mothers have higher rates of post-partum depression, which can lead to behavioral and developmental problems in their child
  13. Higher rates of accidents and injury
  14. Twice as likely to be a teenage mother with all of the resultant complications for baby
  15. Lower school attendance due to health conditions

Need for Navigation / Care Coordination

  1. Less likely to receive health education and less understanding of their illness or condition
  2. Less understanding of the health care system and how to navigate it
  3. Less likely to follow treatment plan
  4. More likely to not read or speak English
  5. Poor access to specialists

Sources of Data

  • The Report on the State of the Health of Colorado’s Children by James Todd, MD, Chief of Pediatric Epidemiology, UC Denver*
  • An Assessment Of The Health Needs Of Colorado’s Children In 2010 by The Center for Public Health Practice, Colorado School of Public Health
  • Colorado Health Foundation: Colorado Health Report Card 
  • Colorado Health Disparities Report (2009) – Colorado Office of Health Disparities.
  • Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF)
  • Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE)
  • Data Resource Center for Child and Adolescent Health (DRCCAH)