Adults' lack of a usual source of care: a matter of preference?
PURPOSE: We wanted to identify characteristics of adults who do not have a usual source of care and then stratify the analysis by those who prefer vs those who do not prefer to have a usual source of care. METHODS: We analyzed data from a nationally representative sample of 9,011 adults to identify characteristics of those more likely to not have a usual source of care. Based on stated reasons for lacking a usual source of care, we created 2 subpopulations of adults without a usual source of care: those who had no preference and those who did. We identified and compared characteristics of each subpopulation. RESULTS: In the year 2000, 20% of adults did not have a usual source of care. Among all adults, lack of insurance (odds ratio [OR] = 3.2; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.6-3.9) was independently associated with lacking a usual source of care, as were male sex (OR = 2.1; 95% CI, 1.7-2.4), excellent reported health (OR = 2.0; 95% CI, 1.2-3.2), younger age (for ages 18-29 years, OR = 4.1; 95% CI, 3.1-5.4) and Hispanic ethnicity (OR = 1.5; 95% CI,1.2-1.9). Of those without a usual source of care, 72% cited reasons indicating no preference to have one. Associations among such respondents were similar to those found among adults as a whole. Among respondents who preferred to have a usual source of care, however, the sex of the respondent became less significant, lack of insurance became more significant, and reported health status became nonsignificant. CONCLUSIONS: Most adults who lack a usual source of care do so for reasons of preference, evidently placing little value on having a usual source of care. Helping these persons have a usual source of care will likely require different interventions than needed to help those who want a usual source of care but cannot get one.
Viera, AJ; Pathman, DE; Garrett, JM
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