Context: Hospitalization due to ambulatory care sensitive conditions (ACSCs) is often used as an indicator for measuring access to primary care. Rural health clinics (RHCs) provide basic primary care services for rural residents in health professional shortage areas (HPSAs). The relationship between RHCs and ACSCs is unclear. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between the presence of RHCs in rural HPSAs and the likelihood of having an acute or chronic ACSC as the reason for hospitalization. Methods: Nebraska hospital discharge data (1999-2001) and the 2003 Area Resource File were used in this analysis. A multilevel logistic regression analysis was used to examine the relationship between the presence of RHCs in rural HPSAs and the likelihood of having an ACSC as the reason for hospitalization, after controlling for individual characteristics and county-level contextual factors stratified by 3 age groups. The eligibility for logistic regression was limited to patients from 28 rural Nebraska counties designated as HPSAs in 2001. Patients with commercial payers were excluded from the study. Findings: Elderly patients residing in rural Nebraska HPSAs with at least one RHC were significantly less likely to have a hospitalization due to chronic ACSCs. Conclusions: The presence of RHC is a significant factor associated with fewer hospitalizations for chronic ACSCs among the rural elderly residing in HPSAs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health