Jul
13
2017

Child Health Advisory Identifies Top Priorities to Improving Omaha Children’s Access to Health Care

Over the last six months, Building Healthy Futures convened our local leaders in healthcare in a data-driven process to identify the most pressing challenges that prevent Omaha’s children from accessing the health care they need. Dubbed the “Child Health Advisory,” this group – including community representatives from underserved regions of Omaha and local leaders in health systems, public health, and higher education – met in a series of half-day sessions to develop a locally driven framework for using community data to identify health priorities for our community’s children. The prioritization framework assigned points to 15 “Access to Healthcare” issues based on:

  • How many families in Omaha were affected by the issue;
  • Whether the problem got worse, better or stayed the same between 2012 and 2015; and
  • Whether specific income, racial, geographic, or age groups faced a greater chance of experiencing the problem than other groups.

The more points an issue received, the higher it rose on the prioritization list, indicating a greater problem for Omaha’s children. After scoring all 15 issues, the top three challenges preventing Omaha’s children from getting the health care they need were:

  • Families facing difficulty getting an appointment to see a doctor for their child;
  • Children not visiting the dentist in the past year; and
  • Families using the emergency room or urgent care center as their child’s primary source of care.

Interested in knowing more? Here are some quick facts:

  • In 2015, 1 in 11 families in Douglas County faced difficulty getting a doctor’s appointment for their child. From 2012 to 2015, the number of families who had difficulty getting a doctor’s appointment for their child more than doubled. Families just above the Federal Poverty Level (income between 100 and 199%) are more than twice as likely to struggle to get an appointment with a doctor.      
  • In 2015, 1 in 13 children had not visited a dentist in the past year. From 2012 to 2015, the number of children who had not visited a dentist in the past year doubled. Children ages 1-5 years were nearly six times more likely to not have visited a dentist than children ages 6-10 years.
  • In 2015, an estimated 4,000 children in Douglas County had a usual source of care that was an emergency room (ER) or urgent care center. From 2012 to 2015, the number of children whose usual source of care was not a medical home nearly doubled. Children living below the Federal Poverty Level were over four times more likely to use the ER or urgent care center as a usual source of care than high income children.

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