BACKGROUND:

Parents of children with chronic illness consistently report suboptimal preparation for transition from pediatric- to adult-focused health care. Little data are available on transition preparation for low-income youth in particular.

METHODS:

We conducted a mailed survey of youth with chronic illness enrolled in 2 large Medicaid health plans to determine the quality of transition preparation using the Adolescent Assessment of Preparation for Transition (ADAPT). ADAPT is a new 26-item survey designed for 16- to 17-year-old youth to report on the quality of health care transition preparation they received from medical providers. ADAPT generates composite scores (possible range: 0%–100%) in 3 domains: counseling on transition self-management, counseling on prescription medication, and transfer planning. We examined differences in ADAPT scores based on clinical and demographic characteristics.

RESULTS:

Among 780 and 575 respondents enrolled in the 2 health plans, respectively, scores in all domains reflected deficiencies in transition preparation. The highest scores were observed in counseling on prescription medication (57% and 58% in the 2 plans, respectively), and lower scores were seen for counseling on transition self-management (36% and 30%, respectively) and transfer planning (5% and 4%, respectively). There were no significant differences in composite scores by health plan, sex, or type of chronic health condition.

CONCLUSIONS:

The ADAPT survey, a novel youth-reported patient experience measure, documented substantial gaps in the quality of transition preparation for adolescents with chronic health conditions in 2 diverse Medicaid populations.

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