As public health practitioners are well aware, low socioeconomic status carries with it numerous by-products: poor nutrition, fewer educational opportunities, greater exposure to environmental hazards and inadequate housing, to name just a few. All of these disadvantages increase the likelihood that a low-income child will be in poor health. Indeed, children living in poverty, particularly children of color, are more likely than other children to suffer from ill health. Early detection and treatment can avert or minimize the effects of many otherwise chronic childhood conditions.
The Medicaid Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment service (EPSDT) is a comprehensive benefit available to children and youth under age 21 who are enrolled in Medicaid. Because Medicaid reaches so many children, EPSDT has the potential to improve dramatically the overall health of children living in the United States.
This fact sheet answers some basic questions about EPSDT: