The authors found no significant difference in preventive counseling services by race or ethnicity. Hispanic children were actually less likely to miss out on preventive counseling compared with non-Hispanic whites. DeVoe said she suspects that these families are accessing care through community health centers, where nurses, nursing assistants and other non-physician clinicians are spending time counseling families.
Even in families where the parents and children are insured, significant percentages lack preventive counseling, which suggests that the problem isn't just one of insurance status. The model of care can also make a difference, the researchers said.
"The way that care is set up in the majority of clinics across the country is the child checks in for their visits, sees a physician for a very short period of time and, increasingly, there's more and more counseling and medical information that's required to be communicated to the family," DeVoe said.
The study findings were published in the September/October issue of Annals of Family Medicine.
Learn more about children's health insurance coverage at the Kaiser Family Foundation.
SOURCES: Jennifer E. DeVoe, M.D., D.Phil., assistant professor, Department of Family Medicine, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland; Shana Alex Lavarreda, Ph.D., research scientist, Center for Health Policy Research, and director, health insurance studies, University of California, Los Angeles; Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, Menlo Park, Calif.; September/October 2009, Annals of Family Medicine