Aurora Health Care

Presentation Notes

Poster presented at: Aurora Scientific Day; May 20, 2020; virtual webinar hosted in Milwaukee, WI.


Background: There is no safe level of lead in the body. Elevated blood lead levels primarily affect the development of the central nervous system. Blood lead levels are highest between the ages of 18 and 36 months secondary to an increase in mobility and hand-tomouth behavior. Children in the city of Milwaukee are recommended to be screened for lead levels at 12, 18, and 24 months, followed by annual screening through the age of 5. Yet, Milwaukee continues to have a greater proportion of children who test positive for elevated lead levels compared to the national average.

Purpose: To review the rate of lead screening in children aged 12–35 months at Aurora Sinai Medical Center’s Family Care Center (FCC) clinic and to identify risk factors.

Methods: Data were retrospectively collected from Aurora Health Care’s electronic health records and the Wisconsin Lead Registry on children 12 to 35 months old who attended FCC for well-child exams from October 1, 2018, to September 30, 2019. The screening results were sorted into the age groups of 12–17, 18–23, and 24–-35 months, giving us a snapshot of screening rates. Basic descriptive statistics were computed, and Fisher’s exact test was used for categorical analysis.

Results: A total of 383 patients were included for analysis. In all, there was an equal percentage of females and males; 72% were Black, followed by 10% White, and 10% Hispanic. Appropriate lead level screening rates of children by age were as follows: 45% for 12–17 months, 26% for 18–23 months, and 35% for 24–35 months. Overall, 62% of 12–35-month-old children at FCC had at least one blood lead test. There was no statistically significant difference in screening based on race as defined by Black vs non-Black (P=0.56). However, there was a statistically significant difference between insurance carriers, with Medicaid patients being screened more than those with other types of insurance (P=0.016).

Conclusion: Lead screening rates at FCC were comparable to statewide screening. The higher screening rate for Medicaid patients may likely be due to having additional access to WIC services and recommended point-of-care lead testing. Implementation of point-ofcare lead testing at FCC may improve overall future screening rates.

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