2020 Household Pulse Survey, Mississippi Results: Healthcare DelayJune 9, 2020
Our state is continuing to see how the things we highly value—good health, physical safety, thriving communities—are all interwoven with the economy. The hallmark of an economy that really works is that it works for people. With each passing week, families are reminded just how important it is to know that incomes will be stable and that children’s needs will be met.
With this as a backdrop, we are launching the first in a series of blog posts brought to you by the Children’s Foundation of Mississippi. We will be posting results of a national on-going survey (begun in May 2020) and commenting on ways that solid data can be instructive in rebuilding and moving forward together.
Over the next several weeks, as we share results of this national survey measuring the ‘pulse’ of U.S. households on a number of topics including: loss of employment income and anticipate loss of income; food scarcity, delayed medical care, housing insecurity and changes in K-12 education, our focus will be on the results specific to Mississippi, beginning this week with a focus on health. ( https://www.census.gov/data-tools/demo/hhp/#/?s_state=00028)
More than 40% of Mississippi’s respondents reported that they have delayed seeking medical care. This is of concern, given the strong associations of poverty on chronic health conditions for both children and adults. People who may already be pushed to the brink by low wages and housing costs are likely to be most affected because their health is already compromised. While the pulse survey focuses upon adults, it begs the question of how many children’s well-child care visits in Mississippi may have also been delayed this spring.
Among our children living in poverty and enrolled in the Medicaid health insurance program prior to the pandemic, well-child visits were as follows: babies up to 1 year, 97% receive wellchild visits; for 1-2 year olds, 76%; for 3-5 years 58%; and for 6-9 year olds, 31%. When children are not seen for well child visits, health concerns are not identified as early, which often leads to more costly care later. But, the evidence is clear and continues to mount that, the most critical years for assuring that developmental milestones are met and if there are concerns, the best (and most cost-effective times) to make any needed adjustments and referrals are in the younger ages. As with a house, building a strong foundation early makes big difference later.
We know that Mississippians overwhelmingly support giving our children a strong start. And we have shown that we know how to prioritize health by continuing to have one of the highest childhood immunizations rates in the country. Let us draw from this demonstration of our ability to come together to protect the next generation to think about ways that we can assure that our children continue to get what they need to thrive. Things like well-child visits that include developmental screenings, immunizations and other preventive measures. One of the best ways to meet the challenge of the high probability of a ‘second wave’ of the pandemic in the fall will be to avoid additional health stressors by ensuring that our children have a strong foundation of health.
As education and work environments are learning new ways to connect, let us make sure that we also include new ways to advance children’s health in the world of social distancing.
Advancing technology and flexibility for well-child visits and promoting virtual home visits can help assure that more of Mississippi’s children and parents can receive services and supports in coping with the stressors of financial worries.
The message in these numbers couldn’t be clearer: we need action that makes the biggest difference for everyone and this will require that we all work together.