Graham Center One-Pager

Family Physicians Are the Main Source of Primary Health Care for the Medicare Population


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Am Fam Physician. 2002 Dec 1;66(11):2032.

Of people 65 years and older who reported an individual provider as their usual source of health care, 60 percent identified a family physician or general practitioner. The Medicare population relies heavily on family physicians.

The Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) is a national survey sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The 1996 MEPS is the most recent one for which usual source of care data are available. On this survey, 91 percent of respondents 65 years and older reported having a usual source of health care. Seventy-two percent of them identified an individual, and 28 percent identified a facility (clinic, hospital, etc.). Respondents who named an individual as their usual source of health care were most likely to name a family physician or general practitioner (FP/GP). The next most frequently identified providers were general internists (IM).

View/Print Figure

Usual Source of Health Care for U.S. Seniors by Age Group

Family physicians were also significantly more likely than other specialists to be identified as the usual source of care for rural elders, Hispanic elders, and elders with less than a high school education.

Usual Source of Health Care for U.S. Seniors by Age Group


Family physicians were also significantly more likely than other specialists to be identified as the usual source of care for rural elders, Hispanic elders, and elders with less than a high school education.

View/Print Figure

Usual Source of Health Care for U.S. Seniors by Sociodemographic Group

These findings suggest that family physicians are the predominant usual source of care for the Medicare population in the United States, particularly underserved minority populations and those living in rural areas. This has implications for the future training, distribution, and funding of family physicians.

Usual Source of Health Care for U.S. Seniors by Sociodemographic Group


These findings suggest that family physicians are the predominant usual source of care for the Medicare population in the United States, particularly underserved minority populations and those living in rural areas. This has implications for the future training, distribution, and funding of family physicians.

Adapted from Graham Center One-Pager #13. Mold JW, Fryer GE, Phillips RL Jr, Dovey SM, Green LA. Family physicians are the main source of primary health care for the elderly. November 2002. Available at: www.aafppolicy.org/x386.xml. From the Robert Graham Center: Policy Studies in Family Practice and Primary Care, 1350 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite 950, Washington, DC 20036 (telephone: 202-986-5708; fax: 202-986-7034; e-mail: policy@aafp.org).

 


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