Poverty is a common root cause of poor health and disrupts medical care. Clinically embedded antipoverty programs that address financial stressors may prevent missed visits and improve show rates. This pilot study evaluated the impact of clinic-based financial coaching on adherence to recommended preventive care pediatric visits and vaccinations in the first 6 months of life.
In this community-partnered randomized controlled trial comparing clinic-based financial coaching to usual care among low-income parent-infant dyads attending pediatric preventive care visits, we examined the impact of the longitudinal financial intervention delivered by trained coaches addressing parent-identified, strengths-based financial goals (employment, savings, public benefits enrollment, etc.). We also examined social needs screening and resource referral on rates of missed preventive care pediatric visits and vaccinations through the 6-month well-child visit.
Eighty-one parent-infant dyads were randomized (35 intervention, 46 control); nearly all parents were mothers and more than one-half were Latina. The rate of missed visits among those randomized to clinic-based financial coaching was half that of controls (0.46 vs 1.07 missed of 4 recommended visits; mean difference, 0.61 visits missed; P = .01). Intervention participants were more likely to have up-to-date immunizations each visit (relative risk, 1.26; P = .01) with fewer missed vaccinations by the end of the 6-month preventive care visit period (2.52 vs 3.8 missed vaccinations; P = .002).
In this pilot randomized trial, a medical-financial partnership embedding financial coaching within pediatric primary care improved low-income families’ adherence to recommended visits and vaccinations. Clinic-based financial coaching may improve care continuity and quality in the medical home.