Lead Became Monitored on a Federal Level

This year survey of compliance with Medicaid’s mandated blood lead screenings for children surveyed those with Medicaid who visited one of four clinics surveyed.  An important aspect to note with this survey is that the clinics primarily served those who were at high risk which is defined within the article as, “children who are poor, African American, Hispanic, living in large metropolitan areas, or in older housing”(Brady et al.,3 ). The survey sampled 50 charts from each of the clinics with a goal of 200 total independent charts.  The results of this survey found that 78.9% of charts showed that blood lead levels were tested, and it was found that at only one clinic was 100% tested with the other three having a 72% testing rate where they found that gender was not a role in testing rate but they did find that race played a role in testing rates (Brady et al., p 4).  This is likely due to the demographics of the areas that these clinics were located in being underprivileged areas in which these clinics are located.  These results are significant as they show that one of the main issues in finding high blood lead levels is lack of testing.  With three of the clinics only testing 72% of infants age 12-18 months this leaves 28% of infants untested at these clinics leading to children that are at high risk are falling through the cracks and not getting the necessary testing to keep blood lead levels monitored.

The survey also found “the clinic with 100% documentation served primarily Hispanics,” (Bardy et al., p 4).  This data is important as the other clinics did not serve primarily Hispanic populations and had significantly lower testing rates.  What is likely occurring is that this one clinic is incredibly good at administering and pushing the blood lead level screening and the demographic of the area that this clinic serves is Hispanic.  This is incredibly important to understand in the context of continual blood lead level testing given that those on Medicaid are often lower income groups, which are more at risk for high blood levels due to housing availability and environmental concerns.  In the changing landscape of blood lead levels in Omaha, minorities and those in low income groups who are already at risk for higher blood lead levels may not always getting the mandated testing that is required by Medicaid.

Blood lead levels are increasingly the subject of concern in Omaha as more children are getting tested. Targeted primary and secondary prevention requires testing, yet the levels of testing are not maintained across all of the clinics.  With three of the clinics having testing levels of 72% there is room for improvement in the rates of testing within these clinics especially given that they serve increasingly at risk populations. 

This testing is crucial to the knowledge of blood lead levels in Omaha and the affected area.  Without continued testing of all high-risk groups the amount of lead poisoning in the community cannot be ascertained.  The percent of people being tested is high in certain areas that are likely receiving additional education about lead poisoning and its effects in Omaha likely from either healthcare providers or government agencies.  This data is important for tracking the percent of the high-risk population that is having blood lead levels tested at the crucial age of 12-18 months.  This allows for tracking of when blood lead levels may increase.

Wilken, M., Currier, S., Abel-Zieg, C., & Brady, L. A. (2004). A survey of compliance: Medicaid's mandated blood lead screenings for children age 12–18 months in Nebraska. BMC Public Health, 4(1), 1-3.