Drop in visits to primary care providers seen for insured adults

From 2008 to 2016, there was a decrease in commercially insured adults’ visits to primary care providers (PCPs), according to a study published online Feb. 4 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Ishani Ganguli, M.D., M.P.H., from Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues examined PCP visit trends among adults enrolled with a commercial insurer and assessed factors underlying these trends. Data were included from the insurer for 2008 to 2016 for 142 million primary care visits among 94 million member-years.

The researchers observed a 24.2 percent decrease in visits to PCPs, from 169.5 to 134.3 visits per 100 member-years, while there was an increase in the proportion of adults with no PCP visits in a given year, from 38.1 to 46.4 percent. A 47.7 percent decrease was seen in the rates of visits addressing low-acuity conditions. The largest decreases were seen among the youngest adults, those without chronic conditions, and those living in the lowest-income areas (−27.6, −26.4, and −31.4 percent, respectively). Per problem-based visit, there was a $9.4 increase in out-of-pocket cost (31.5 percent). Visit rates to specialists remained stable (−0.08 percent), while there was an increase in visits to alternative venues such as urgent care clinics (46.9 percent increase).

Source: Read Full Article