Characteristics of ambulatory care patients and services: A comparison of community health centers and physicians' offices

Leiyu Shi, Lydie A. Lebrun, Jenna Tsai, Jinsheng Zhu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The overall aim was to determine whether health care delivery for vulnerable populations served by community health centers (CHCs) was comparable to care for mainstream Americans primarily seen in physicians' offices (POs). Data came from the 2006 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey. Patient visits occurring in CHCs were largely from younger, uninsured or Medicaid-insured, minority populations, while POs catered mainly to older, Medicare- or privately-insured, White patients. Communities served by CHCs were more often in low-income, low-education, urban regions. A greater proportion of visits to CHCs were from diabetic, obese, and depressed patients; CHCs also offered more evening/weekend visits and provided more health education during visits, but spent less time per visit than POs and had more difficulty referring patients to specialists. Results affirmed the significant role of CHCs as safety-net providers for vulnerable populations, and indicated that CHCs provide adequate care compared with POs although there remains room for improvement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1169-1183
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of health care for the poor and underserved
Volume21
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1 2010
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Ambulatory care
  • Community health centers
  • Health care delivery
  • Health care disparities
  • Physician offices

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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