Medical Homes Ensure Better Health Care for Children

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
Health Resources and Services Administration
Friday, March 18, 2011

Researchers at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Maternal and Child Health Bureau publish their findings on health care for children in medical homes in the April issue of Pediatrics. 

The report “The Medical Home: Health Care Access and Impact for Children and Youth in the United States HRSA Exit Disclaimer,” finds only 57 percent of children in the United States have access to a medical home. Children without a medical home are nearly four times more likely to have unmet needs for health care, three times more likely to have unmet needs for dental care, and were less likely to have had a preventive health care visit in the past year.

The report uses data from the HRSA 2007 National Survey of Children’s Health.  A medical home is defined as a model of primary care that is accessible, continuous, comprehensive, family-centered, coordinated, compassionate, and culturally effective. 

Additionally, the study examines disparities in medical home access among racial and ethnic groups.  While non-Hispanic whites had the greatest access to a medical home, Hispanic children were at the greatest risk of not having a medical home, and non-Hispanic black children fared only slightly better.

“Increasing access to the medical home model of care means more than just working harder at what we already do,” said lead author Dr. Bonnie B. Strickland, a researcher in HRSA’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau.  “It represents a fundamental change in the way we provide, coordinate, and manage care within the health care system and the community.”

Other findings include:

  • Medical home access was twice as prevalent among children in families in which English was the primary language
  • Children in fair or poor health were about half as likely as healthier children to have a medical home.
  • Insured children were almost twice as likely to have medical homes as uninsured children.

The study was co-authored by Bonnie B. Strickland, Ph.D., Jessica R. Jones, M.P.H., Reem M. Ghandour, Dr.P.H., M.P.A., Michael D. Kogan, Ph.D., and Paul W. Newacheck, Dr.P.H. of HRSA’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau.


The Health Resources and Services Administration is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  HRSA is the primary Federal agency responsible for improving access to health care services for people who are uninsured, isolated, or medically vulnerable.  For more information about HRSA and its programs, visit

Date Last Reviewed:  March 2017