OBJECTIVE: To assess the extent to which chronic condition (CC) status and severity affected how soon children had a dental visit after enrolling in Medicaid. Data Source. Enrollment and claims data (2003-2008) for newly Medicaid-enrolled children ages 3-14 in Iowa.
STUDY DESIGN: 3M Clinical Risk Grouping methods were used to identify CC status (no/yes) and CC severity (less severe/more severe). Survival analysis was used to identify the factors associated with earlier first dental visits after initially enrolling in Medicaid.
PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Children with a CC were 17 percent more likely to have earlier first dental visits after enrolling in Medicaid (p < .0001). There was no significant difference by CC severity. Children who lived in a dental health professional shortage area and those who did not utilize primary medical care had significantly later first Medicaid dental visits, whereas these factors failed to reach statistical significance for children with a CC.
CONCLUSION: While newly Medicaid-enrolled children with a CC were significantly more likely to have earlier first dental visits, we failed to detect a relationship between CC severity and the time to first Medicaid dental visit. The determinants of first Medicaid dental visits were heterogeneous across subgroups of newly Medicaid-enrolled children. Future studies should identify the sociobehavioral factors associated with CCs that are potential barriers to earlier first Medicaid dental visits for newly Medicaid-enrolled children.