A Pennsylvania advocacy group says it has culled public data to create a clearer picture of child health in the state.
The report from the Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children merges information on visits to the dentist, trips to the emergency room and enrollment in Medicaid, among other health indicators.
The number of children with health coverage who don’t get wellness check-ups and other preventive care surprised spokesman Michael Race.
“We found that about one in four of them aren’t even getting proper vaccination against polio, tetanus or hepatitis, which are completely preventable,” Race said. “About half of them don’t get annual dental check-ups that are recommended by pediatric dentists.”
Schools and the government have outreach programs and wellness reminders, but Race said families need to step up too.
“Parental responsibility and parental awareness play a critical role in improving children’s health care, parents need to be knowledgeable, they need to be aware of the types of services that are available, and they need to be proactive to make sure children get those services,” Race said.
Analysts found very little data on children’s behavioral health. Race said it’s hard to gauge whether Pennsylvania kids are receiving appropriate treatment and diagnosis for depression, anxiety and other mental health troubles.