US Children And Adolescents Had Fewer Annual Doctor And Dentist Contacts Than Their Dutch Counterparts 201012
Author: Dougal S. Hargreaves, Jeroen N. Struijs, Mark A. Schuster
Children and adolescents in the United States have been found to be less healthy than their counterparts in other high-income countries. The contribution of pediatric health care use to health outcomes—either as an independent determinant or as a mediator of wider social factors—is not well understood. We found that, compared to their peers in the Netherlands, US children and adolescents had fewer annual doctor and dental contacts in 2012. In both countries, poorer health status was reported among low-income compared to high-income children; however, this status was accompanied by greater or equal number of doctor and dental contacts among low-income Dutch children compared to their higher-income Dutch peers. By contrast, low-income US children had 28–65 percent fewer care episodes than high-income US children. Further research is needed to investigate the potential impact of greater equity and use of pediatric services on US health outcomes. Possible policy responses might include a focus on improving the quality, coverage, and benefits of health insurance, as well as on the workforce implications of providing high-quality pediatric care to all.