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May 1993

Caring for Indigent Children With Rheumatologic Diseases: The Challenge Continues

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatrics, The Children's Memorial Hospital, Chicago, Ill (Dr Miller), and the Department of Pediatrics, Children's National Medical Center, George Washington University, Washington, DC (Dr White).

Am J Dis Child. 1993;147(5):535. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1993.02160290041019

The challenges faced by children with rheumatologic illnesses, their families, and their caregivers have not changed since 1991. One important study adds to our knowledge about the expense. Allaire et al1 studied the cost to families and schools of caring for children with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. We will summarize their findings; the reader is urged to consult the original article for the complete data and excellent discussion. Among 70 families responding to a survey, the mean annual cost was $7905 per child, including $5700 mean annual outpatient expenses. Special school services were estimated to be $1449 per each 9-month school year. The authors use prevalence data to estimate that juvenile rheumatoid arthritis cost the United States $285 million in 1989. The majority of these families were not indigent. The costs to society of caring for indigent children could not be expected to be less, in view of the problems