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Fewer Children Receiving Care at Family Medicine Practices

Odds of being seen at family practice increased for children from rural areas versus urban children

FRIDAY, Sept. 13, 2019 (HealthDay News) — From 2009 to 2016, there was a decrease in the proportion of children seen at family physician (FP) practices, according to a study published in the September/October issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

Richard C. Wasserman, M.D., M.P.H., from the University of Vermont in Burlington, and colleagues conducted a retrospective longitudinal analysis of all payer claims from 2009 to 2016 for children aged 0 to 21 years. Data were included for 184,794 children with two or more claims. The proportion of children seen at FP practices and pediatrician practices was examined over time.

The researchers found that children were 5 percent less likely to be attributed to an FP practice over time when controlling for all other covariates. The odds of attribution to an FP practice increased as children aged (odds ratio, 1.11), if they were female (odds ratio, 1.05), or if they had Medicaid (odds ratio, 1.09). Children from large rural cities, small rural towns, or isolated/small rural towns had higher odds of FP attribution than urban children (odds ratios, 1.54, 1.45, and 1.96, respectively). Children had 3 percent lower odds of attending an FP practice in urban areas and 8 percent lower odds in isolated/small rural towns when stratified by Rural Urban Commuting Area category.

“This study confirms the findings of previous studies and yields new information about the influence of the rurality of the child’s residence and of child’s age, sex, and insurance status on the type of practice they are receiving primary preventative medical care from,” the authors write.

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