Not Near Enough: Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Access to Nearby Behavioral Health Care and Primary Care
- Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved
- Johns Hopkins University Press
- Volume 26, Number 3, August 2015
- pp. 1032-1047
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Background. Racial, ethnic, and geographical health disparities have been widely documented in the United States. However, little attention has been directed towards disparities associated with integrated behavioral health and primary care services. Methods. Access to behavioral health professionals among primary care physicians was examined using multinomial logistic regression analyses with 2010 National Plan and Provider Enumeration System, American Medical Association Physician Masterfile, and American Community Survey data. Results. Primary care providers practicing in neighborhoods with higher percentages of African Americans and Hispanics were less likely to have geographically proximate behavioral health professionals. Primary care providers in rural areas were less likely to have geographically proximate behavioral health professionals. Conclusion. Neighborhood-level factors are associated with access to nearby behavioral health and primary care. Additional behavioral health professionals are needed in racial/ethnic minority neighborhoods and rural areas to provide access to behavioral health services, and to progress toward more integrated primary care.