Disparities in the use of preventive health care among children with disabilities in Taiwan.

Research paper by Wen-Chen WC Tsai, Pei-Tseng PT Kung, Jong-Yi JY Wang

Indexed on: 29 Nov '11Published on: 29 Nov '11Published in: Research in Developmental Disabilities


Children with disabilities face more barriers accessing preventive health services. Prior research has documented disparities in the receipt of these services. However, most are limited to specific types of disability or care. This study investigates disparities in the use of preventive health care among children with disabilities in Taiwan. Three nationwide databases from the Ministry of the Interior, Bureau of Health Promotion, and National Health Research Institutes were linked to gather related information between 2006 and 2008. A total of 8572 children with disabilities aged 1-7 years were included in this study. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was conducted to adjust for covariates. Nationally, only 37.58% of children with disabilities received preventive health care in 2008. Children with severe and very severe disabilities were less likely to use preventive care than those with mild severity. Children with disabilities from the lowest income family were less likely to have preventive care than other income groups. Urbanization was strongly associated with the receipt of preventive health care. However, surprisingly, urban children with disabilities were less likely to receive preventive care than all others. Under universal health insurance coverage, the overall usage of preventive health care is still low among children with disabilities. The study also identified several disparities in their usage. Potential factors affecting the lack of use deserve additional research. Policymakers should target low socioeconomic brackets and foster education about the importance of preventive care. Mobile health services should be continually provided in those areas in need. Capitation reimbursement and other incentives should be considered in improving the utilization among children with disabilities.