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Report Issued on the Health Care of America's Young

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Press Release Date: January 10, 2000

A new report by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) says that asthma, injuries, and mental health problems account for more hospitalizations of children over five years of age than any other conditions, while preschoolers and infants need hospital care mostly for infections and birth-related problems. Youths aged 15 to 17 are hospitalized mostly for problems related to pregnancy and childbearing. The report also indicates that youths in the same age bracket who are uninsured are the most likely not to have a usual source of health care and the least likely to use office-based medical providers, such as pediatricians and family practice doctors.

The findings are part of a new series of annual reports by AHRQ on access to and use of health care by children and youth in the United States. This first report, which also presents data on health insurance coverage and use of ambulatory care services, appears in the Journal of the Ambulatory Pediatric Association, published today as a supplement to Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. The statistics in the report are drawn from AHRQ's Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) and Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) Nationwide Inpatient Sample databases.

"This report reflects AHRQ's commitment to improving the health care of America's young by providing quality information on the patterns of health care utilization by children and adolescents" said the Agency's deputy director, Lisa A. Simpson, M.B., B.Ch., F.A.A.P., who also helped author the study. Dr. Simpson said the report provides researchers, practitioners, policymakers, and child health advocates with a baseline for assessing changes in access to and use of health care services.

Copies of the Annual Report on Access to and Utilization of Health Care for Children and Youth in the United States—1999 (AHRQ 00-R014) are available without charge from the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse, P.O. Box 8547, Silver Spring, MD 20907; phone: (800) 358-9295.

Note to Editors:

  • For more information about the MEPS and HCUP databases, select Data and Surveys.
  • On December 6, 1999, the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research was renamed the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality under P.L.106-129. The Agency, a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is leading federal research efforts to improve the quality of health care, reduce its cost, improve patient safety, address medical errors, and broaden access to essential services.

For more information, please contact AHRQ Public Affairs, (301) 427-1364: Karen Migdail, (301) 427-1855 (

The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.


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