Some Iowa Children Lack a Medical Home


A survey conducted by the Public Policy Center at the University of Iowa shows that while most children in Iowa receive care that meets the definition of a medical home, some are being left behind, including those with special needs, public insurance or who are African‑American.

This information is presented in a new report from researchers in the health policy research program that can be downloaded at, click here.

The American Academy of Pediatrics defines a patient‑centered medical home as a method of care delivery by physicians that is accessible, continuous, comprehensive, family‑centered, coordinated, compassionate, and culturally effective. Results from the "Iowa Child and Family Household Health Survey on Medical Homes for Children in Iowa" survey reveal that in addition to special needs and African‑American children, lower‑income children, those without insurance or with public insurance and those in less
supportive neighborhoods were less likely to have a medical home.

“One of our key child health goals is to ensure that all children in our programs have a medical home. These data are essential to creating efficient and effective public health initiatives that target populations with the greatest need” says Elizabeth Richey, data integration coordinator at the IDPH.

The findings of the study are particularly important because the historical foundation of the medical home was based on providing better care specifically for these children who, because of their unique and complex healthcare needs, would particularly benefit from the continuous, comprehensive, family‑centered, and coordinated care that are hallmarks of a medical home.

The survey is a collaboration involving the IDPH, the PPC and the Iowa Child Health Specialty Clinics and is designed to measure the health and well-being of children and families in Iowa. The population‑based survey was conducted via telephone and the Internet from fall 2010 through spring 2011. Families were asked more than 165 questions regarding a randomly selected child in their household and about their own insurance coverage, as well as topics related to the child’s health.

The Iowa Department of Public Health hosted a webinar to discuss the survey’s findings on 2 p.m. on Oct. 4. Peter Damiano, director of the Public Policy Center and Sandy Swallow, clinical project manager at Iowa Medicaid Enterprise, were the featured speakers. The webinar should be available for viewing soon.