Reducing Disparities in Access to Primary Care and Patient Satisfaction with Care: The Role of Health Centers


This paper examined disparities in access to and satisfaction with primary care among patients of different racial/ethnic groups and insurance coverage, in health centers and the nation overall. Data came from the 2009 Health Center Patient Survey and 2009 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. Study outcomes included usual source of care, type of usual source of care, satisfaction with provider office hours, and satisfaction with overall care. Health center patients were more racially and ethnically diverse than national patients, and health center patients were more likely than national patients to be uninsured or publicly insured. No significant health care disparities in access to care existed among patients from different racial/ethnic and insurance groups among health centers, unlike low-income patients nationwide or the U.S. population in general. Additional focus on the uninsured, in health centers and other health care settings nationwide, is needed to enhance satisfaction with care among these patients.