Department of Pediatrics - General Pediatrics Research

Rochester Child Healthcare Financing Research Program

Read the findings from a Child Health Insurance Research Initiative (CHIRI™) project that examined the impact of New York SCHIP program.

View the brief.

The Rochester Child and Adolescent Healthcare Financing Research Program aims to improve the receipt of health care to children and youth through research on health insurance for vulnerable children. We work to understand what works and what needs to change in order to improve access to health insurance, the quality of services delivered under different types of insurance, and improvements in health outcomes that can result when children receive the healthcare they need.

Locally, our studies estimate that as many as 10,000 children in the Rochester region do not have health insurance. Statewide, the uninsured rate hovers around 8%, and nationally it is 11%, or more than 8 million children.

Our local and national studies have shown that uninsured children are less likely to receive the care they need – whether that is preventive care or care for asthma or a special health need – and can have poorer health outcomes as a result. National evidence has been mounting about the importance of health insurance for children, and much of the recent evidence about the benefit of health insurance for vulnerable children comes from our research programs.

During the 1990s, Our research studies in New York State provided essential data that was used by federal policymakers in their decision to create and pass the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (Title XXI or SCHIP). Since 1997, SCHIP has become the major source of health insurance for U.S. children whose parents are working and earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, but who do not have jobs that provide health insurance for their children. Our research has also provided information to New York State policymakers about the Child Health Plus program since it began in 1991.

During the past 10 years, our studies of SCHIP in New York and several other states have shown that:

  • Overall, children who enroll in SCHIP have better access to health care services and receive better quality of care during SCHIP compared with the year before they obtained SCHIP
  • Among special needs children such as those with asthma or other illnesses, SCHIP improves access and quality of care
  • Among adolescents, SCHIP improves quality of care including receipt of confidential care
  • SCHIP reduces many pre-existing disparities in health care among those who enroll
  • State policies, which vary greatly, affect enrollment, retention and quality of care during SCHIP. Some state policies lead to children falling off health insurance