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Health Care Disparities

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Racial differences exist in parents' opinions about the quality of primary care provided to their children

Parent reports of pediatric primary care quality vary by race/ethnicity, with Asian and Latino parents giving this care lower marks than black and white parents, according to a study supported in part by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (HS10317). When the study included English-language ability in the analysis, differences between Latino and white parents became insignificant, but it did not completely eliminate the care assessment differences for Asians. In addition to language, parental perceptions of pediatric primary care quality were related to a child's chronic health condition status, maternal education, insurance status and type, and whether or not the family had a regular care provider.

These findings underscore the importance of increasing potential care access and encouraging linguistically appropriate health care services, concludes Michael Seid, Ph.D., of Children's Hospital Research Center in San Diego. Dr. Seid and his colleagues surveyed parents of elementary school students in a large California urban school district during the 1999-2000 school year. They administered the surveys in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, and Tagalog (principal language of the Philippines).

The researchers examined the effects of race/ethnicity, language, and potential access to care (insurance status, presence of a regular care provider) on parents' reports of primary care quality, which they assessed via the Parents Perceptions of Primary Care (P3C) measure. The P3C asked parents about continuity of care, convenient access to care, communication with the physician, how well the physician knew their child's medical history, comprehensiveness of care, and coordination of care.

See "Parents' perceptions of pediatric primary care quality: Effects of race/ethnicity, language, and access," by Dr. Seid, Gregory D. Stevens, Ph.D., and James W. Varni, Ph.D., in the August 2003 Health Services Research 38(4), pp. 1009-1031.

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