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Measurement Approaches for Child Health Care

Children experience a unique pattern of health, illness, and disability. Measurement approaches for child health must take these differences into account to be reliable.

Short-term insurance plans typically don’t cover pre-existing conditions, but they can be useful as emergency coverage or for when kids have small regular expenses that wouldn’t exceed the plan’s daily limit. Fixed-payment plans are another option, and can be bought any time of year.

Preventive health care

Preventive health care includes routine checkups and vaccinations, as well as screenings for conditions like autism and lead poisoning. Most health insurance plans — including those purchased through the Health Insurance Marketplace and through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program — cover preventive services without charging copayments or coinsurance.

The CDC develops tools to help public health agencies, clinicians and other stakeholders track and improve use of clinical preventive services. These tools are designed to be user friendly, easy to use for year-to-year comparisons, adaptable for electronic medical records and able to be used by all health care settings.

Educate health care providers and parents on the importance of routine well-child visits and how to provide a supportive home environment. Implement models of allied health home visiting that demonstrate positive impacts on well-child visit rates. Facilitate initial and continuous enrollment of low-income children in health insurance, including Medicaid and Child Health Plus, using presumptive eligibility and automated reminder systems.

Routine screenings

Screening tests help doctors find problems before a child even has symptoms. They are usually quick, painless and safe. Health screenings look for blood and heart problems, lead exposure, developmental delays, autism and more. Children should get these routine screenings at well-child visits.

Developmental screening is used to identify infants and toddlers who may have a delay in one or more areas of development. These include cognitive, motor and communication skills and social-emotional development. It also includes hearing and vision.

Screenings can detect infections, like gonorrhea or chlamydia. They can also detect conditions, like obesity or hearing loss. Vaccinations protect against diseases such as chicken pox and polio. A yearly checkup is a good time for parents to ask questions and discuss concerns about their child’s health and well-being with the doctor or nurse. For young teens, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all boys and girls get vaccinated against HPV, which is the most common sexually transmitted disease.


Children have a unique pattern of health and illness that requires specific care. They have a different basic physiology than adults, for example their ear canals are shorter and they have less blood in their heads. Adults must make sure that children have access to health care and follow-up, and that they get the right care at the right time.

Some children have chronic conditions such as diabetes, epilepsy, or severe asthma. These require special treatment that may include medications or therapy. Some treatments may be expensive and some employers or public programs may have concerns about the costs of this kind of care.

Children need help with their emotional and behavioral difficulties as well as their physical ones. Some children may need counseling, and some need psychiatric care or other types of mental health services. They might need to be hospitalized for a short stay. Children need to be involved in their treatment and should understand why they are being treated for a particular condition.


Child health care can be very complex. There are many different services available, each with their own rules, regulations, and criteria for referral. Accessing these services can be difficult for families. In addition, coordinating these different services can be time consuming. This can make it hard for parents to manage their children’s medical needs and to get help from their communities.

A single point of entry (SPE) referral system may be one way to improve access to services for children. In Bath and North East Somerset (BANES), for example, a SPE has been introduced. This is a multi-disciplinary team that reviews all referrals. The team meets twice a month for up to an hour and discusses the best way to allocate referrals.

The SPE will accept referrals from a variety of sources including home visiting programs, early support for infants and toddlers partners, and other community agencies. Referrers must complete an electronic Community Referral Application Form and demonstrate that the child/youth would benefit from Health Home Care Management Services.

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