Medical home model is underused for children with autism spectrum disorder

July 1, 2012
Contemporary Pediatrics Staff
Contemporary Pediatrics Staff

Children with autism spectrum disorder need greater access to the coordinated care available through a medical home, according to a systematic review of 13 studies that examined health care use, health care expenditures, and access to services by children with ASD.

Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) need greater access to the coordinated care available through a medical home, according to a systematic review of 13 studies that examined health care use, health care expenditures, and access to services by children with ASD.

The review found that children with ASD use health care services at a higher rate and have higher costs, but they have less access to care and worse access to medical homes than children with other health conditions.

Researchers reported that children with ASD had twice as many health care claims as those with asthma and almost 40% more than those with diabetes mellitus. Children with ASD also had 7 times more outpatient visits, 4 times as many nonpsychiatric inpatient days, 12 times as many inpatient psychiatric days, 30% more emergency department visits, 3.5 times the odds of using medication, and greater use of physical, occupational, or speech therapies compared with children without ASD.

Tregnago MK, Cheak-Zamora NC. Systematic review of disparities in health care for individuals with autism spectrum disorders in the United States. Res Autism Spectr Disord. 2012;6:1023-1031.