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Medical home for adolescents: Low attainment rates for those with mental health problems and other vulnerable groups

  • Author(s): Adams, SH
  • Newacheck, PW
  • Park, MJ
  • Brindis, CD
  • Irwin, CE
  • et al.
Abstract

BACKGROUND: The importance of the medical home for children has been demonstrated but has not been examined comprehensively for adolescents. Adolescence is a unique period of physical, cognitive, and psychosocial changes when many mentaldisordersfirstemerge; thus, receiving carewithin amedical home could improve well-being. This study examines rates of medical home attainment and its components for adolescents and subgroups, including those with mental health conditions. METHODS: Utilizing the 2007 National Survey of Children's Health, we determined the following for adolescents aged 10 to 17 years (n = 45 897): 1) rates of medical home attainment and its 5 components (usual source of care, having a personal doctor, and receiving needed referrals, effective care coordination, and family-centered care); and 2) subgroup differences; gender, race/ethnicity, income, insurance, region, language spoken at home, respondent education, and the presence of mental health conditions. RESULTS: Fifty-four percent of adolescents had a past-year medical home. Rates were lower for minority youth compared to whites; lower-income and uninsured youth; those in households that are non-English speaking in which the respondent did not have some college; and those with mental health as opposed to physical health conditions (all P < .01). Patterns of disparities in the medical home components were similar, and rates were lowest for effective care coordination and family-centered care components. CONCLUSIONS: Nearly half of adolescents lacked a medical home in the past year. Even lower rates for subgroups highlight the need to increase access to comprehensive quality health care. Efforts to improve effective care coordination and family-centered care could result in higher quality of care for all children and adolescents, and specifically for disadvantaged adolescents and those with mental health conditions. © 2013 by Academic Pediatric Association.

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