Children with Special Health Care Needs: How Immigrant Status is Related to Health Care Access, Health Care Utilization, and Health Status
To compare health care access, utilization, and perceived health status for children with SHCN in immigrant and nonimmigrant families. This cross-sectional study used data from the 2003 California Health Interview Survey to identify 1404 children (ages 0-11) with a special health care need. Chi-square and logistic regression analyses were used to examine relations between immigrant status and health access, utilization, and health status variables. Compared to children with special health care needs (CSHCN) in nonimmigrant families, CSHCN in immigrant families are more likely to be uninsured (10.4 vs. 4.8%), lack a usual source of care (5.9 vs. 1.9%), report a delay in medical care (13.0 vs. 8.1%), and report no visit to the doctor in the past year (6.8 vs. 2.6%). They are less likely to report an emergency room visit in the past year (30.0 vs. 44.0%), yet more likely to report fair or poor perceived health status (33.0 vs. 16.0%). Multivariate analyses suggested that the bivariate findings for children with SHCN in immigrant families largely reflected differences in family socioeconomic status, parent's language, parental education, ethnicity, and children's insurance status. Limited resources, non-English language, and limited health-care use are some of the barriers to staying healthy for CSHCN in immigrant families. Public policies that improve access to existing insurance programs and provide culturally and linguistically appropriate care will likely decrease health and health care disparities for this population.