Pediatric care access is worsening: 7 figures to know

Pediatric care access has been in decline since even before the pandemic. Forty states saw declines in pediatric bed availability prior to 2020, according to CNN, and now compounding factors are exacerbating the issue.

The blending of an ongoing healthcare workforce shortage, increased pediatric mental health hospitalizations and Medicaid reimbursing physicians at "a lower rate for children" which at times leads hospitals to put "adults in those pediatric beds for financial reasons," CNN reported — have contributed to the worsening of access, causing pediatric patients to wait for a bed for hours at a time. 

"Pediatric inpatient capacity is decreasing in the U.S. Access to inpatient care is declining for many children, particularly those in rural areas," one study reported.

 Amid the ongoing hindrance for pediatric patients, here are seven figures to note: 

  1. Only 37 percent of hospitals in the U.S. currently offer pediatric services.

  2. As of February, 72 percent of pediatric beds nationwide were occupied — which is a higher level than the height of the pandemic.

  3. Between 2008 and 2018, close to 25 percent of children in the U.S. experienced an increase in distance to their closest available pediatric inpatient unit due to closures.

  4. There are 5,037 staffed pediatric intensive care beds in community hospitals throughout the U.S., according to the American Hospital Association. 

  5. Pediatric inpatient units in the U.S. have declined by nearly 20 percent between 2008 and 2018, the most recent year this data is available for. 

  6. Upward of 1,400 children's deaths could have been prevented over a six-year period if every hospital department was prepared for pediatric cases, a recent study found.

  7. In rural regions, inpatient pediatric beds and units fell by 26 percent and 24 percent, respectively, between 2008 and 2018.

Copyright © 2023 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars