Report: Adolescent health services lacking

December 10, 2008

A report by the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine has found that current adolescent health services do not meet the needs of America's youth.

A report by the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine has found that current adolescent health services do not meet the needs of America's youth.

The report, available from National Academies Press, stated that health care providers need better training in order to meet specific health needs of patients ages 10 to 19.

The report also stated that those in the adolescent age group are most likely to rely on emergency departments for routine health care. However, the various services and providers that adolescents need to have access to are often fragmented, resulting in gaps in care. For example, most adolescents do not have access to specialty services such as those in mental health, sexual health, oral health, or substance abuse treatment.

The committee recommended that public and private agencies work together to better coordinate care for adolescents, and that federal and state laws should make sure all adolescents have complete and continuous insurance coverage.