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Access to Care for U.S. Health Center Patients and Patients Nationally: How Do the Most Vulnerable Populations Fare?

Shi, Leiyu DrPH, MBA*; Stevens, Gregory D. PhD, MHS; Politzer, Robert M. ScD

doi: 10.1097/01.mlr.0000252160.21428.24
Original Article
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This study examined access to care for uninsured and Medicaid-insured community health center patients in comparison to nonhealth center patients nationally. Using nationally representative data from 2 major surveys in 2002, there was a positive association between seeking care in community health centers and self-reported access to care for both uninsured and Medicaid patients. This suggests that health centers may fill a critical gap in access to care for patients who use their services. Given recent budget cuts to the Medicaid program, health centers remain an important policy option to assure access to care for vulnerable populations.

From the *Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health & Hygiene, Baltimore, Maryland; and Division of Community Health, University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, Alhambra, California.

The views expressed in this work are those of the authors and should not be inferred to the Department of Health and Human Services or any of its components.

Robert M. Politzer, ScD, is an independent researcher with no current affiliation.

Reprints: Gregory D. Stevens, PhD, MHS, Division of Community Health, University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, 1000 South Fremont Ave, Building A7, Room 7411, Alhambra, CA 91803. E-mail: gstevens@usc.edu.

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.