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Effect of Having a Personal Healthcare Provider on Access to Dental Care Among Children

Martin, Amy Brock DrPH; Probst, Janice PhD; Wang, Jong-Yi PhD; Hale, Nathan MS

Journal of Public Health Management and Practice: May-June 2009 - Volume 15 - Issue 3 - p 191–199
doi: 10.1097/PHH.0b013e3181a117c5
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Background The current study examines the relationship between having a personal healthcare provider (PHP) and a child's receipt of dental visits during the preceding year. Whether the PHP relationship ameliorates rural/urban differences among US children was also examined.

Methods We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of data from the 2003 National Survey of Children's Health augmented with county-level ecological data from the 2003 Area Resource File. Independent variables were preventive dental visits and any dental visits. Control variables were demographic variables, special healthcare needs, health insurance, dental insurance, and primary care and dental HPSA status. Multiple logistic regression models were used to adjust for covariate effects.

Results Children with PHPs were more likely to have received preventive dental care and less likely to have received no dental care at all. Children who lacked PHPs were less likely to have received preventive care and more likely to lack any dental visit. Rural children, regardless of PHP status, were less likely to have received preventive care and more likely to have made no dental visit.

Conclusion While having a PHP improves the likelihood a child will have dental visits in a year, the effect is not as strong for rural as for urban.

This study describes the effect of having a personal healthcare provider on access to dental care among children and whether the personal healthcare provider relationship ameliorates rural/urban differences among them.

Amy Brock Martin, DrPH is Research Assistant Professor and Deputy Director, SC Rural Health Research Center, Department of Health Services Policy and Management, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia.

Janice Probst, PhD, is Associate Professor and Director, SC Rural Health Research Center, Department of Health Services Policy and Management, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia.

Jong-Yi Wang, PhD, is Assistant Professor, Department and Graduate Institute of Health Services Administration, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan, and is Research Affiliate, SC Rural Health Research Center, Department of Health Services Policy and Management, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia.

Nathan Hale, MS, is Research Associate, SC Rural Health Research Center, Department of Health Services Policy and Management, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia.

Corresponding Author: Amy Brock Martin, DrPH, Department of Health Services Policy and Management, SC Rural Health Research Center, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208.

This report was prepared under grant award no. 6 U1C RH 03711-04-01 with the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, Health Resources and Services Administration.

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.