After-hours primary care provides episodic care for acute illnesses and continuity of care for chronic diseases. Inadequate access to this type of care is a driving force behind the increased use of emergency care for non-emergent cases.
This study, published in the Journal of Health Disparities Research and Practice, examined how race, income, geographic location, type of insurance, and healthcare setting affected access to after-hours care. The researchers used data gathered from the 2010 Health Tracking Household Survey.
Ultimately, it was found that after-hours care facilities were less accessible to study participants on Medicaid. Participants who lived in more rural settings were also affected, especially those who lived in the Western, Midwestern, and Southern United States.
The researchers concluded that disparities in lack of access to after-hours care exist and need to be addressed. A call to action is made to pass legislation and incentivize healthcare providers to better serve the healthcare needs of patients, especially those who live in underserved communities .
Source: Mosalpuria, K., Wilson, F. A., & Siahpush, M. (2021). Disparities in access to after-hours care in the U.S.: a national study. Journal of Health Disparities Research and Practice, 14(1). https://digitalscholarship.unlv.edu/jhdrp/vol14/iss1/1/