Original Article| Volume 23, ISSUE 2, P363-371, March 2023

Well-Child Care Disparities in U.S. Military Health System



      To describe adherence rates for well-child visits among military children in the first 15 months of life and identify any disparities in adherence in a universally insured population.


      A retrospective cohort analysis was conducted using the Military Health System data repository which included children who were born between October 2013 and September 2016 and were eligible for TRICARE (the military health insurance program). Children were followed from zero to fifteen months of life to assess adherence with a national Health Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) metric of 6 well visits during this period. Differences in adherence rates were evaluated across select demographic characteristics including sponsor rank, race, age, service branch, patient sex, geographic region, number of enrollment sites and provider type. Fitted logistic regression models were used to determine the probability of adherence with the HEDIS metric and identify disparities.


      The final cohort included 168,830 infants. Across all variables, the mean number of well visits was 6.7 with an overall adherence rate of 86%. Child beneficiaries of junior enlisted, Black, and Air Force military members had lower adherence with the HEDIS metric. Enrollment at a single site and having a pediatrician for a primary care manager was associated with higher rates of adherence.


      Sponsor rank, race, and service branch, along with provider type and number of enrollment sites were significantly associated with the probability of adherence. Further research should evaluate barriers to care that affect a universally insured population.


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