Objectives To examine the association between having a patient-centered medical home (PCMH) and healthcare expenditures and quality of care for children with special health care needs (CSHCN). Methods We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of 8802 CSHCN using the 2008–2012 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. A PCMH indicator was constructed from survey responses. Inverse probability treatment weighting was applied to balance the cohort. CSHCN’s annual health care expenditures and quality were analyzed using two-part and logistic models, respectively. Results Covariate-adjusted annual total expenditures were similar between CSHCN with and without a PCMH ($4267 vs. $3957, p = 0.285). CSHCN with a PCMH had higher odds of incurring expenditure (OR 1.66, 95% CI 1.22–2.25)—in particular, office-based services and prescriptions (OR 1.46 and 1.36, 95% CI 1.24–1.72 and 1.17–1.58, respectively)—compared to those without a PCMH, without shifting expenditures. When examined in detail, PCMH was associated with lower odds of accessing office-based mental health services (OR 0.80, 95% CI 0.66–0.96), leading to lower expenditures ($106 vs. $137; p = 0.046). PCMH was associated with higher odds of post-operation and immunization visits (OR 1.23 and 1.22, 95% CI 1.05–1.45 and 1.004–1.48, respectively) without changing expenditures. Parents of CSHCN with a PCMH were more likely to report having the best health care quality (OR 2.33, p < 0.001). Conclusions CSHCN who had a PCMH experienced better health care quality and were more likely to access preventive services, with unchanged expenditures. However, they were less likely to use mental health services in office-based settings. As the effects of PCMH varied across services for CSHCN, more research is warranted.
- Children with special health care needs
- Medical home
- Quality of care