Increases seen in visits to other acute care venues and to specialists during the same period
WEDNESDAY, Jan. 22, 2020 (HealthDay News) — From 2008 to 2016, there was a decrease in primary care visit rates among commercially insured children, according to a study published online Jan. 21 in JAMA Pediatrics.
Kristin N. Ray, M.D., from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and colleagues assessed trends in primary care rates and out-of-pocket costs from 2008 to 2016 for children aged 17 years and younger. Data were included for more than 71 million pediatric primary care visits during 29 million pediatric child-years.
The researchers found that from 2008 to 2016, there was a decrease in primary care visit rates per 100 child-years in unadjusted results, with a regression-estimated change of −14.4 percent in primary care visits across the nine years. The relative decrease was −12.8 percent after controlling for shifts in demographics. From 2008 to 2016, there was an increase in preventive care visits per 100 child-years, from 74.9 to 83.2 visits (9.9 percent change); problem-based visits decreased from 184.7 to 144.1 per 100 child-years (−24.1 percent). For all diagnostic groups except those in the behavioral and psychiatric categories, visit rates decreased. Visits to other acute care venues and to specialists increased (absolute change, 6.3 and 8.3 visits per 100 child-years, respectively).
“This means that children and their families are visiting their pediatrician less throughout the year, presumably resulting in fewer opportunities for the pediatrician to connect with families on preventive care and healthy behaviors,” Ray said in a statement.
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