Federal regulations mandate that Medicaid-enrolled children be tested for lead poisoning at the age of 1 and 2 years or 3 through 5 years if not previously tested.
To measure the rate of blood lead testing among Medicaid-enrolled children in Michigan and the subsequent proportion of children with elevated lead levels and to determine factors associated with testing and elevated lead levels.
We performed a retrospective analysis of children aged 5 years or younger continuously enrolled in Michigan Medicaid during 2002.
There were 216 578 children included in the analysis. The overall rate of blood lead testing was 19.6% (95% confidence interval [CI], 19.4-19.8) of which 8.3% (95% CI, 8.0-8.5) had a level of 10 μg/dL [0.48 μmol/L] or higher. Hispanic or nonwhite children or those living in high-risk areas for lead exposure were more likely to be tested and more likely to have an elevated blood lead level. However, 1.2% of tested children without these additional risk factors had a level of 10 μg/dL or higher. Enrollment in Medicaid managed care was associated with an increased likelihood of blood lead testing. After adjusting for other factors, those in managed care for 75% or more of their enrollment in 2002 had 1.98 (95% CI, 1.46-2.68) greater odds of being tested than those in fee-for-service for 75% or more of their enrollment.
The rate of blood lead testing was low. Patterns suggest testing was targeted to those at highest risk, potentially leading some children with elevated blood lead levels to be missed.