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Research Letter |

Trends in Access to Primary Care for Children in the United States, 2002-2013 ONLINE FIRST

Kristin N. Ray, MD, MS1; Ateev Mehrotra, MD, MPH2
[+] Author Affiliations
1Department of Pediatrics, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
2Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
JAMA Pediatr. Published online August 22, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2016.0985
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This study uses data from the 2002-2013 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey to describe how access to primary care has changed over the last decade for children.

To benefit from health care, children must be able to access it. One framework for access includes 5 domains: availability (adequacy of supply and resources), accessibility (geographic), accommodation (office hours, telephone access, and same-day access), acceptability (comfort with physician or other nonphysician professional), and affordability.1 In many of these domains, the United States ranks poorly compared with other developed nations.2 Over the last decade, there have been efforts to improve access, including patient-centered medical home initiatives and the passage of the Affordable Care Act. Using 2002-2013 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) data, we describe how access to primary care has changed over the last decade for children.

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Figure.
Annual Trends for Selected Measures of Access, 2002-2013

Annual trends for a subset of measures within each domain. Gray shaded area indicates 95% CIs for each value. Out-of-pocket costs are adjusted for inflation using the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index and stratified by insurance type. USC indicates usual source of care.

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