Preventive Health Care for Children:

Experience From Selected Foreign Countries

HRD-93-62: Published: Aug 4, 1993. Publicly Released: Aug 4, 1993.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed preventive health care for children in five countries, focusing on: (1) how countries with universal health insurance provide preventive health care to children; and (2) the implications for U.S health care reform.

GAO found that: (1) the five countries require parents or hospital officials to notify health authorities of new births, which initiates the children's automatic inclusion in their preventive health care service networks; (2) the countries use home visiting for newborns and health services in schools, which increases access to preventive care; (3) the countries use child health booklets, public information campaigns, and outreach to special populations to foster participation in preventive care; (4) England has adopted a financial incentive program for general practitioners based on the percentage of fully immunized children in their practices; (5) England and the Netherlands require that medical records be systematically collected and centrally maintained for tracking purposes; (6) there were no outcome and cost data to assess the effectiveness of the countries' preventive care; and (7) it is unclear whether the use of similar methods in the United States would increase participation in children's preventive health services, particularly among lower income families.

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