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Medical Home Services for Children With Behavioral Health Conditions

Sheldrick, Radley C. PhD; Perrin, Ellen C. MD

Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics: February/March 2010 - Volume 31 - Issue 2 - pp 92-99
doi: 10.1097/DBP.0b013e3181cdabda
Original Articles

Objectives: Whether medical services received by children and youth with behavioral health conditions are consistent with a Medical Home has not been systematically studied. The objectives of this study were to examine the variation among four behavioral health conditions in regard to services related to the Medical Home.

Methods: Cross-sectional analyses of the 2003 National Survey of Children's Health were conducted. Multiple logistic regression analyses tested the impact of behavioral health conditions on medical needs, on Medical Home components, and on likelihood of having a Medical Home overall.

Results: Autism, Depression/Anxiety, and Behavior/Conduct problems were associated with reduced likelihood of having a Medical Home, whereas Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder was associated with increased likelihood. All health conditions predicted increased access to a primary care physician (PCP) and a preventive visit in the past year. However, all were also associated with higher needs for specialty care and all behavioral health conditions except Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder were associated with difficulties accessing this care.

Conclusions: A detailed examination of the receipt of services among children and youth with behavioral health conditions reveals two primary reasons why such care is less likely to be consistent with a Medical Home model: (1) parents are more likely to report needing specialty care; and (2) these needs are less likely to be met. These data suggest that the reason why services received by children and youth with behavioral health conditions are not consistent with the Medical Home has more to do with difficulty accessing specialty care than with problems accessing quality primary care.

From the Division of Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics, Floating Hospital for Children, Tufts Medical Center, Boston, MA.

Received April 21, 2009; accepted December 1, 2009.

Address for reprints: Radley C. Sheldrick, PhD, Floating Hospital for Children, Tufts Medical Center, 334, 750 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02111; e-mail: rsheldrick@tuftsmedicalcenter.org.

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.