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 specifically assessed some indicators regarding children with special health care needs, and these new rankings echo the findings of a related report that was released recently recently by the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health. That 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, particularly those with special health care needs. The California budget crisis only exacerbates the situation, so it becomes increasingly imperative to find innovative ways to preserve vital services for these highly vulnerable children.
The Commonwealth Fund study reiterates data that were highlighted in our report, including the fact 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.
Please consider joining the new California Collaborative for Children with Special Health Care Needs, which will work toward improving the system of care so that it can support these children and their families on a consistent and sustainable basis.