All Vermonters have Access to High Quality Health Care
Vermonters have Access to High Quality Health Care
Equitable Access: Vermonters have access to programs, services, and supports in healthcare, childcare, nutrition, and transportation
% of adults with a usual primary care provider
Story Behind the Curve
The percent of Vermont adults reported having a personal health care provider decreased from 90% in 2010 to 86% in 2018. However, this is still statistically higher than the 77% reported for all U.S. adults.
Women are statistically more likely than men to have a personal doctor. (91% vs. 80%). Older Vermonters are also more likely to have a personal doctor than younger adults.
The same is true for Vermonters with more formal education and higher family incomes. Those with a college degree or higher are significantly more likely to have a doctor, and Adults in homes with the highest incomes, $50,000 or more, are more likely to have a doctor compared to those making less than low or middle incomes.
Even with health insurance, there are often long-wait times for first appointments for new patients, and not all primary care practices are accepting new patients on Medicaid or even commercial insurance.While waiting for initial appointments, some patients get discouraged, recover from their initial acute illness, or seek care at a local emergency room or one of an increasing number of urgent care centers opening in Vermont.
Federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) and rural health clinics (RHCs) are required to accept patients whether they have health insurance or not and offer sliding scale fees to patients without insurance.All Vermont hospital-affiliated primary care practices also offer financial assistance to help patients pay for care.Hospital practices, FQHCs and most RHCs, and many independent primary care practices participate in Vermont’s Blueprint for Health and patient-centered medical home (PCMH) models.
There are more urgent care practices settings opening across Vermont. Some are affiliated with hospitals or FQHCs, and several are independents or associated with national networks.However, urgent care centers are typically not considered primary care or a usual source of care because most are not set up to see patients on an on-going bases, and therefore providers lack insight to a patient’s medical or family history.
All 10 of Vermont’s free clinics enroll patients in health care insurance and make referrals to primary care providers in the local area for ongoing care.
Why Is This Important?
This indicator is part of Healthy Vermonters 2020 (the State Health Assessment) that documents the health status of Vermonters at the start of the decade and the population health indicators and goals that will guide the work of public health through 2020. Click here for more information.
In addition, this measure is listed as an Access to Care Target for Vermont's All-Payer Model agreement with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Vermont must achieve a target of 89 percent of Vermont adult residents reporting that they have a personal doctor or care provider on the annual Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey of adults.
The Health Department understands that addressing this need requires strong partnerships between public health and healthcare organizations.
Some of our current partners include:
- Vermont Free & Referral Clinics (previously Vermont Coalition of Clinics for the Uninsured--VCCU)
- Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) & Bi-State Primary Care Association (PCA)
- Northern Tier Center for Health (NOTCH)
- Lamoille Health Partners
- Northern Counties Health Care (NCHC)
- The Health Center (THC)
- Little Rivers Health Center (LRHC)
- Community Health Centers of Burlington (CHCB)
- Community Health Centers of the Rutland Region (CHCRR)
- North Star Health
- Mountain Community Health
- Gifford Health Care (GHC)
- Battenkill Valley Health Center (BVHC)
Affordable health insurance (ongoing premiums and co-payments) enables patients to seek care with confidence that doing so will not be a financial burden to them.
Strong working relationships between Vermont’s 10 free clinics and other local providers helps bridge the connection between patients needing ongoing care and practices that can provide that care.
Continue to manage the state appropriation sub-grant to the Vermont Free & Referral Clincs to support referrals to local dental and primary care providers as well as enrollment in health insurance through Vermont HealthConnect.
Similar to statewide efforts, local partners are using data to drive local strategy. For regional data on access to health indicators, check out our Public Health Data Explorer.
Notes on Methodology
Data is updated as it becomes available and timing may vary by data source. For more information about this indicator, click here.
to BRFSS weighting methodology changes beginning in 2011, comparisons between
data collected in 2011 and later and that from 2010 and earlier should be made
with caution. Differences between data from 2011 forward and earlier years may
be due to methodological changes, rather than changes in opinion or behavior.