Context. Immunization rates in the inner city remain lower than in the general US population, but efforts to raise immunization levels in inner- city areas have been largely untested. Objective. To assess the effectiveness of case management in raising immunization levels among infants of inner- city, African American families. Design. Randomized controlled trial with follow-up through 1 year of life. Setting. Low-income areas of inner-city Los Angeles, Calif. Patients. A representative sample of 419 African American infants and their families. Interventions. In-depth assessment by case managers before infants were 6 weeks of age, with home visits 2 weeks prior to when immunizations were scheduled and additional follow-up visits as needed. Main Outcome Measures. Percentage of children with up-to-date immunizations at age 1 year, characteristics associated with improved immunization rates, and cost-effectiveness of case management intervention. Results. A total of 365 newborns were followed up to age 1 year. Overall, the immunization completion for the case management group was 13.2 percentage points higher than the control group (63.8% vs 50.6%; P=.01). In a logistic model, the case management effect was limited to the 25% of the sample who reported 3 or fewer well-child visits (odds ratio, 3.43; 95% confidence interval, 1.26-9.35); for them, immunization levels increased by 28 percentage points. Although for the case management group intervention was not cost-effective ($12 022 per additional child immunized), it was better ($4546) for the 25% of the sample identified retrospectively to have inadequate utilization of preventive health visits. Conclusions. A case management intervention in the first year of life was effective but not cost- effective at raising immunization levels in inner-city, African American infants. The intervention was demonstrated to be particularly effective for subpopulations that do not access well-child care; however, currently there are no means to identify these groups prospectively. For case management to be a useful tool to raise immunizations levels among high-risk populations, better methods of tracking and targeting, such as immunization registries, need to be developed.
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