A statewide report card released Tuesday shows Douglas County children lag behind the rest of the state in key indicators for health, such as whether a child lives in poverty or has insurance.
The nonprofit advocacy group Children First for Oregon compared children’s health indicators in Oregon’s 33 counties.
One of the more dramatic findings for Douglas County was a near doubling of the rate of uninsured children between 2010 and 2011.
According to Children First, 3,866 of Douglas County’s 21,933 children ages 17 and younger were uninsured in 2011. The percentage increased from 9.8 percent the year before to 17.9 percent.
Roseburg pediatrician Dr. Bob Dannenhoffer said today he is puzzled by the severity of the numbers, but said it is clear who suffers most from lack of insurance.
“It’s mostly among working families who don’t make enough for insurance but make too much for Medicaid,” said Dannenhoffer, CEO of Architrave Health, a joint venture of DCIPA, The Physicians of Douglas County and Mercy Medical Center.
Matt Quince, data and design manager for Children First, said the margin of error is high on the insurance rates, which are based on the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.
Quince said the state’s economy may be improving but entrenched poverty — especially in rural counties — continues to create health problems for kids. Quince said improvements in the state’s economy do not seem to be reaching Oregon’s poorest kids.
“The numbers are showing us that it is maybe not trickling down that much,” Quince said.
Douglas County’s child poverty rate is 28.1 percent, or 5,865 children. That’s a slight improvement over the 2010 rate of 30.7 percent, but worse than the state’s 23.4 percent poverty rate.
The county showed slight improvements in prenatal care and immunization rates.
Dawnelle Marshall, public health division director for Douglas County, said Medicaid has increased payments for prenatal care for county residents who are not U.S. citizens. She also said a combination of public-private immunization efforts and an improved state registry may account for better recorded immunization rates.
• Reporter Carisa Cegavske can be reached at 541-957-4213 or firstname.lastname@example.org.