Thesis

Addressing healthcare access needs for children enrolled in Medi-Cal

Thesis (M.P.P.A., Public Policy and Administration) -- California State University, Sacramento, 2013.

Access to healthcare is critical for children’s development. In the United States, children with access to healthcare are more likely to have better health outcomes, live healthier lives, and do better in school. Although many children now have access to healthcare insurance, this has not always lead to these children having access to healthcare. Although state and federal healthcare reforms are addressing issues of providing children access to health insurance, many children will continue facing severe issues with acquiring access to healthcare, especially those enrolled in Medi-Cal. 
 In this thesis, I analyze possible solutions for addressing healthcare access needs for California’s children enrolled in Medi-Cal. I first review articles and published studies to develop a list of possible factors that are correlated with children being more likely to lack access to healthcare that include specific: Healthcare insurance factors; child demographic factors; and family/parental factors. Further, I review articles and published studies to develop a list of possible alternatives to addressing children’s healthcare access needs including specific: Healthcare infrastructure alternatives, healthcare delivery model transformation alternatives, and finance alternatives.
 To analyze my research question: “what policies should California implement to address the healthcare access needs of the state’s child population in the Medi-Cal system?”, I employ a criteria alternatives matrix (CAM) analysis model to examine which of the potential alternatives can address the factors that are correlated with children being more likely to lack access to healthcare. I further use the knowledge from the review of articles, published studies, and independent analysis to develop specific recommendations on policies the state can develop to implement the alternatives. 
 Based on my analysis I found that there are various actions policymakers can take to ensure children enrolled in Medi-Cal throughout the state receive adequate access to healthcare. Two alternatives: expanding the use of community-based collaboratives, and expanding the use of school-based health centers are highly recommended as they would address the most barriers to children’s healthcare access. The other eight alternatives each address different barriers to children’s healthcare access that could benefit children in specific regions and/or populations if implemented. Ultimately policymakers should look at all options outlined and implement what is most appropriate at the state and local levels, considering that inaction is not an acceptable option as the health of our children depends on it.

Access to healthcare is critical for children’s development. In the United States, children with access to healthcare are more likely to have better health outcomes, live healthier lives, and do better in school. Although many children now have access to healthcare insurance, this has not always lead to these children having access to healthcare. Although state and federal healthcare reforms are addressing issues of providing children access to health insurance, many children will continue facing severe issues with acquiring access to healthcare, especially those enrolled in Medi-Cal. In this thesis, I analyze possible solutions for addressing healthcare access needs for California’s children enrolled in Medi-Cal. I first review articles and published studies to develop a list of possible factors that are correlated with children being more likely to lack access to healthcare that include specific: Healthcare insurance factors; child demographic factors; and family/parental factors. Further, I review articles and published studies to develop a list of possible alternatives to addressing children’s healthcare access needs including specific: Healthcare infrastructure alternatives, healthcare delivery model transformation alternatives, and finance alternatives. To analyze my research question: “what policies should California implement to address the healthcare access needs of the state’s child population in the Medi-Cal system?”, I employ a criteria alternatives matrix (CAM) analysis model to examine which of the potential alternatives can address the factors that are correlated with children being more likely to lack access to healthcare. I further use the knowledge from the review of articles, published studies, and independent analysis to develop specific recommendations on policies the state can develop to implement the alternatives. Based on my analysis I found that there are various actions policymakers can take to ensure children enrolled in Medi-Cal throughout the state receive adequate access to healthcare. Two alternatives: expanding the use of community-based collaboratives, and expanding the use of school-based health centers are highly recommended as they would address the most barriers to children’s healthcare access. The other eight alternatives each address different barriers to children’s healthcare access that could benefit children in specific regions and/or populations if implemented. Ultimately policymakers should look at all options outlined and implement what is most appropriate at the state and local levels, considering that inaction is not an acceptable option as the health of our children depends on it.

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