Sharp decline in child health care amid coronavirus prompts call to action by Medicaid chief

During that stretch, there were 22 percent fewer vaccinations nationwide among children under age 2 who rely on Medicaid insurance. There were 44 percent fewer child screenings that track growth, assess health, and provide early detection of autism and developmental delays. Also, there were 69 percent fewer dental services.

In Massachusetts, Verma said, that translates into about 30,000 fewer vaccinations for children under 2, nearly 90,000 fewer screenings, and 200,000 fewer dental services.

Since May, preliminary numbers suggest that telehealth for children has increased dramatically, but not enough to offset the decline in care for vulnerable children, Verma said. Also, some services, such as vaccinations, can’t be provided through telehealth.

While national data show that vaccination rates are increasing, the number of vaccines administered so far has yet to make up for the large decline, she said. That increases the risk of vaccine-preventable illnesses, such as measles, mumps, and whooping

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