Health Service and Functional Measures of Benefit of a Medical Home in Children with Autism

Jessica Rast, Craig Newschaffer, Renee Turchi, Jennifer Plumb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: A medical home is a model of patient-centered, comprehensive care recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics for all children. The aims of this study were (1) to determine if the presence of a medical home is associated with improved health service outcomes of children with autism, and (2) to determine if the presence of a medical home is associated with improved key functional outcomes in children with autism. Methods: This study used data from the 2016–2017 National Survey of Children’s Health. We used a medical home construct of 14 survey questions as the main independent variable in logistic regression models estimating cross-sectional association, and also evaluated the interaction between medical home and demographic and household characteristics, including race, income, household composition, and autism severity in regression for outcomes. Results: Overall, the presence of a medical home was associated with increased parent reporting of shared health care decision-making, receipt of preventive pediatric care, and reduced frustration in accessing services. Some functional outcomes were also positively associated with the presences of a medical home in children with parent-reported mild autism symptoms; children who had a medical home visited the ED less often than children without a medical home. This did not persist for children with moderate or severe parent-rated autism. Conclusions for practice: Based on parent-reported, cross-sectional data from a large, nationally representative sample of families with a child with autism, the presence of a medical home was positively associated with some improved health services and functional outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1156-1163
Number of pages8
JournalMaternal and child health journal
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Epidemiology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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