Access to Care and 1 more...less...

G3O4. Increase the use of primary care physicians

Increase the percentage of individuals with a primary care physician

84.6%2021

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Story Behind the Curve

Dedicated Health Care Provider (America's Health Rankings)

U.S. Value: 77.6% (2020); 84.1% (2021)

Healthiest State: New Hampshire: 87.9% (2020); 90.9% (2021)

Least-healthy State: Alaska: 65.6% (2020); New Mexico: 74.1% (2021)

Definition: Percentage of adults who reported having a personal doctor or health care provider

Data Source & Year(s): CDC, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2020

Suggested Citation: America's Health Rankings analysis of CDC, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, United Health Foundation, AmericasHealthRankings.org, accessed 2022.

WHY DOES THIS MATTER?

Individuals with a dedicated health care provider are better positioned to receive care that can prevent, detect and manage disease and other health conditions. Having a regular health care provider helps the patient and provider build a stable, long-term relationship that is associated with a number of benefits, including:

  • Appropriate preventive care.
  • Lower health care costs.
  • Better overall health status.
  • Fewer emergency room visits for non-urgent or avoidable problems.
  • Improvements in chronic care management for asthma, hypertension and diabetes.

WHO IS AFFECTED?

Populations of adults with a higher percentage of a dedicated healthcare provider include: 

  • Females compared with males. 
  • Adults ages 65 and older compared with adults ages 18-44.
  • White adults compared with all other racial/ethnic groups.
  • College graduates compared with those with lower levels of education; the prevalence is significantly higher with each increase in education level.
  • Adults with an annual household income of $75,000 or more compared with those with lower levels of income; the prevalence is significantly higher with each increase in income level.

 

GOALS

Increasing the proportion of individuals with a usual primary care provider is a Healthy People 2030 leading health indicator.

https://www.americashealthrankings.org/explore/annual/measure/dedicated_health_care_provider/state/IN Last accesses Dec 2022

What Works

Dedicated Health Care Provider

Data Source & Year(s): CDC, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2020

Suggested Citation: America's Health Rankings analysis of CDC, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, United Health Foundation, AmericasHealthRankings.org, accessed 2022.

 

WHAT WORKS?

Strategies for increasing the percentage of adults with a dedicated health care provider include:

  • Increasing primary care capacity by empowering licensed personnel, including nurse practitioners and physician assistants, to provide more care and increase the capacity of the primary care system.
  • Enacting scope-of-practice laws that enable nurse practitioners to perform more primary care functions. Scope-of-practice laws lead to increases in the number of nurse practitioners per capita and higher yearly growth of the nurse practitioner workforce. 
  • Reorienting health care systems to encourage patients to use primary care for new symptoms instead of seeking specialists with low-impact and high-cost procedures which will also encourage capital investment in primary care.  
  • Reducing barriers to care such as lack of health insurance, high cost of care, poor geographic availability of services and lack of culturally competent care.

 

https://www.americashealthrankings.org/explore/annual/measure/dedicated_health_care_provider/state/IN  Last accessed Dec 2022

Challenges

Factors such as access to transportation, travel distance, and the supply of primary care providers can limit people's ability to get primary care. For example, rural residents may need to travel long distances to get primary care and thus may be less likely to seek preventive care such as vaccinations. Additionally, primary care provider shortages and extreme demand often make it challenging for patients to get an appointment.13

Some obstacles include lack of health insurance,7,8,9 language-related barriers,10  disabilities,11  inability to take time off work to attend appointments,12 geographic and transportation-related barriers,13 Limited provider office hours, and a shortage of primary care providers.14 These barriers may intersect to further reduce access to primary care.

Source: https://health.gov/healthypeople/priority-areas/social-determinants-health/literature-summaries/access-primary-care  

Last accessed Dec 2022

Corrective Action

Primary care is critical for improving population health and reducing health disparities.4 Therefore, addressing barriers to accessing primary care may help reduce disparities and reduce the risk of poor health outcomes. For example, the National Health Service Corps supports the work of primary health care clinicians in areas of the United States with limited access to care, also called health professional shortage areas (HPSAs).23 Digital solutions like telehealth can also improve access to primary care by reducing barriers related to transportation and expanding the ability to offer services in languages other than English.24

 

Source: https://health.gov/healthypeople/priority-areas/social-determinants-health/literature-summaries/access-primary-care  

Last accessed Dec 2022

PoE

https://www.americashealthrankings.org/explore/annual/measure/dedicated_health_care_provider/state/IN

Last accessed Dec 2022

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