Racial disparities widen in well-child visits during pandemic

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the racial and ethnic disparities among children attending recommended well-child visits increased, according to an Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality-funded study. Data from AHRQ’s Medical Expenditure Panel Survey revealed average attendance in well-child visits fell from 66.6% in 2018-2019 to 58.6% in 2020. However, the unadjusted disparities in attendance increased from 9.6 percentage points to 24.8 percentage points between white non-Hispanic and Black non-Hispanic children, and from 14.8 percentage points to 26.3 percentage points between white non-Hispanic and  Hispanic children. The changes in disparities were large even when controlling for health status, demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, health insurance and state of residence. The authors conclude the findings underscore the need to build a more equitable health care system. (AHRQ News Now article, 6/4/24)