Measures of availability of health care services for children

Acad Pediatr. May-Jun 2011;11(3 Suppl):S42-8. doi: 10.1016/j.acap.2010.11.007.


Objective: The Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA) mandates that measures of availability of child health services be included in the recommended core measurement set. The objective of this work was to review and evaluate measures of availability of child health services for potential inclusion in the initial core set of health care quality measures as mandated by CHIPRA.

Methods: To find measures, I searched the published literature, measurement sets, and recommended articles to identify existing measures of availability. I comment on the use of these measures as well as their reliability and validity (where available).

Results: I identified measures of geographic availability (n = 11), timeliness (n = 7), and barriers (n = 4). Geographic measures range from counts of the number of providers in a specific area to measures that account for whether providers are open to caring for patients with public insurance and distance. Measures of timeliness address whether patients can see a provider quickly. Barriers measure the ease with which providers can be seen.

Conclusions: Of potential use to the CHIPRA measurement initiative are objective measures of provider density and some existing parent survey questions about timeliness and ease of use. Other measures include more refined measures of density or distance, perhaps looking at providers who are taking new Medicaid and State Children's Health Insurance Program patients and more detailed questions about the timeliness and ease with which patients can get care. However, more work is needed on the validity and reliability of existing measures; more work is also needed to expand measures of availability beyond existing domains of providers and conditions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Services Accessibility / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Workforce / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Legislation as Topic
  • Medicaid
  • Medical Assistance / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Physicians / supply & distribution
  • Quality Indicators, Health Care / standards
  • United States