MedPage Today: One in Four Kids Seen at Urgent Care, Retail Clinics in 2019
By Elizabeth Hlavinka
More children visited urgent care and retail health clinics in 2019 compared with years prior, but disparities related to which children are accessing these clinics are emerging, according to data from the National Health Interview Survey.
Children with private or public insurance accessed care at one such clinic at similar rates (27.6% vs 25.2%), but uninsured children accessed them at lower rates (19.3%), the researchers wrote in an NCHS Data Brief.
Although it's preferable to have kids be seen by pediatricians in their medical home, "convenience care" sites like urgent care and retail clinics are helpful for treating things outside the scope of an office setting, like a fracture or laceration, commented Amanda G. Montalbano, MD, MPH, of Children's Mercy in Kansas City, Missouri, who was not involved in this research.
"There was some concern in the past that children seeking care at these sites may be getting less than ideal care, but we've been working hard in the pediatric urgent care community to reach out to retail clinics and offer pediatric expertise to them because they do serve as a convenience site of care for families who need to get a quick strep test or get kids back to school," Montalbano told MedPage Today.
However, most convenience care facilities are located in suburban areas, and do not serve as an access point for rural or inner city areas, where they could potentially fill gaps in care, Montalbano noted.
Hispanic and Black children were also less likely to have visited urgent care or retail health clinics than white children (22.6% and 24.9% vs 29.2%).
"The ramp-up of telemedicine is going to change how, when, and where parents are able to access care for their children," Montalbano said. "It's going to be a game changer in how kids are triaged."
Read the full story via MedPage Today
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