California Ranks 44th Nationally on Health Care System for Children; Children with Special Health Care Needs Lag on Key Indicators


Feb. 2, 2011

Contact: Andy Krackov, (650) 736-0677 or (650) 703-7943 (cell); andy.krackov@lpfch.org


A Commonwealth Fund study released today,  The State Scorecard on Child Health System Performance, finds that California ranks 44th in the nation on a scorecard composed of 20 indicators measuring health care access, affordability of care, health system equity, and other issues.

The report assessed some indicators regarding children with special health care needs, and these new rankings echo the findings of a related report that was recently released by the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health. The Packard study found that California ranked worst in the nation on a composite index that measures whether children with special health care needs have adequate health insurance, receive basic preventive care, and receive medical care that is comprehensive, ongoing and family-centered.

The two studies together serve as a reminder that the system of care as it currently exists is not working well for California children with special health care needs, said David Alexander, MD, a pediatrician who is president and CEO of the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health. California's budget crisis exacerbates the situation, he noted, so "we must find innovative ways to preserve vital services for these highly vulnerable children."

The Commonwealth Fund study found that California ranks 49th in whether children with special health care needs had problems receiving medical referrals when needed. The state ranked 31st on children with special health care needs whose families received all needed family support services.

Children with special health care needs comprise about one in seven children in California.
They have a chronic condition that requires health care beyond what is needed by most children. Conditions may range from relatively mild asthma to highly complex conditions such as cerebral palsy or heart disease. Many have multiple health conditions.