News Release

12/7/99

School-Based/Linked Programs Results Released

On Thursday, December 9, Leonora Lartson, MD, MPH from the Houston Department of Health and Human Services, will announce the overall results of her evaluation on HDHHS’S School-Based/Linked Program. The results will be announced at 2pm by Dr. Leonora Lartson, HDHHS Program Manager, at the Sunnyside Multi-Service Center in Southeast Houston, located at 4605 Wilmington (KM 573D).

The School-Based/Linked Program was conceived after HDHHS and HISD found inadequate health coverage for children living in poverty, and because of the decreased access to community health care. The declining health status of young children demonstrated the need for a program that would keep Houston’s uninsured children cared for and healthy through medical and dental services.

Texas has the highest rate of children in the country without health insurance. According to the Texas Department of Health, an estimated 24-percent of children were reported to have no insurance in 1998. Nationally, the U.S. Census Bureau reports that 15-percent of all children were without health insurance in 1998. In this survey, 47-percent of all parents said that their families were uninsured. Also, according to the September 1996 issue of Current Population Reports, 41-percent of all people of Hispanic origin were without health insurance. In addition, the non health insurance rate among foreign-born residents in particular was 52-percent in 1995.

Accordingly, in this survey Hispanics had the highest rate of children without health insurance at 64-percent. In contrast, African-Americans have only 18-percent of families without health insurance. The large gap between Hispanics without insurance and African-Americans with coverage is due to Medicaid. Forty-five percent of all African-Americans in the survey had Medicaid coverage while only 7.5-percent of all Hispanics were covered by Medicaid.

This low percentage of Medicaid coverage in the Hispanic population (7.5 percent) is due to non-eligibility, and those who are eligible do not take advantage of the Medicaid program because they feel it will count against them when they apply for citizenship. However, the CHIP program (Children’s Health Insurance Program) fills the gap of some working poor families who are not eligible for Medicaid. Those students who qualify for neither will still be cared for by the School Health Centers.

Overall, the HDHHS School-Based/Linked Program finds both parents and students very satisfied. Eighty-four percent of students rate the dental clinic as good or very good, and 95-percent of parents are satisfied with the dental clinic, rating it as excellent or very good. Seventy-nine percent of students rated the medical clinic as good or very good, and 92-percent of parents rated the medical clinic as excellent or very good.

Speakers include: M. desVignes-Kendrick, MD, MPH, Director of HDHHS; John Sclitt, Executive Director, National Assembly on School-Based Health Care; Phoebe Urbina, Principal, Bonner Elementary School and others.