Parents’ Reports of Children's Medical Care Access: Are There Mexican-American Versus Non-Hispanic White Disparities?

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Objectives:We investigated whether there were Mexican-American versus non-Hispanic white disparities in parents’ reports of problems with 4 dimensions of children's medical care access after controlling for a range of demographic, social, economic, and health status factors.Methods:Data were collected through a telephone survey of 5941 parents residing in Texas. The survey questionnaire included measures of the parent's demographic and socioeconomic status and the child's health-related quality of life. The behavioral model was used to guide the inclusion of factors in multivariate logistic regression analyses of parents’ reports of their children's ability to obtain an appointment for routine/regular care, obtain care for illness/injury, obtain help/advice over the phone when calling the doctor's office, and having to wait more than 15 minutes in the doctor's office.Results:Mexican-American parents had worse reports of all 4 dimensions of their children's access even after controlling for predisposing, enabling, and need factors. Among Mexican-Americans, there were no differences between those who primarily spoke English versus Spanish. Other factors that were significantly associated with at least 2 reports of access were household income, the child's insurance status, and the child's health-related quality of life.Conclusions:Mexican-American children face problems accessing medical care in a timely manner that are not fully explained by parents’ demographic, social, and economic status or children's health-related quality of life. Health policy makers, managers, and clinicians should further consider how they could reduce the inequity of access to medical services among Mexican-American children.

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