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Healthcare Utilization Among Children Receiving Permanent Supportive Housing.

Bohnhoff JC, Xue L, Hollander MAG, Burgette JM, Cole ES, Ray KN, Donohue J, Roberts ET. Healthcare Utilization Among Children Receiving Permanent Supportive Housing. Pediatrics. 2023 Apr 1; 151(4).

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BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Permanent supportive housing (PSH) integrates long-term housing and supports for families and individuals experiencing homelessness. Although PSH is frequently provided to families with children, little is known about the impacts of PSH among children. We examined changes in health care visits among children receiving PSH compared with similar children who did not receive PSH. METHODS: We analyzed Pennsylvania Medicaid administrative data for children entering PSH between 2011 and 2016, matching to a comparison cohort with similar demographic and clinical characteristics who received non-PSH housing services. We conducted propensity score-weighted difference-in-differences (DID) analyses to compare changes in health care visits 3 years before and after children entered PSH versus changes in the comparison cohort. RESULTS: We matched 705 children receiving PSH to 3141 in the comparison cohort. Over 3 years following PSH entry, dental visits among children entering PSH increased differentially relative to the comparison cohort (DID: 12.70 visits per 1000 person-months, 95% confidence interval: 3.72 to 21.67). We did not find differential changes in preventive medicine visits, hospitalizations, or emergency department (ED) visits overall. When stratified by age, children = 5 years old at PSH entry experienced a greater decrease in ED visits relative to the comparison cohort (DID: -13.16 visits per 1000 person-months, 95% confidence interval: -26.23 to -0.10). However, emergency visit trends before PSH entry differed between the cohorts. CONCLUSIONS: Children in PSH had relatively greater increases in dental visits, and younger children entering PSH may have experienced relative reductions in ED visits. Policymakers should consider benefits to children when evaluating the overall value of PSH.

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