Medicaid coverage linked to increase in primary care services
OHSU leads study about Oregonians’ use of community health centers
July 20, 2015
Researchers from OCHIN, OHSU and the Oregon Health Authority recently concluded that use of primary care services in Community Health Centers (CHCs) significantly increased when patients gained coverage through Oregon's 2008 Oregon Health Plan/Medicaid insurance expansion.
Results of the study, "Community Health Center Use after Oregon's Randomized Medicaid Experiment," were published today in Annals of Family Medicine.
School of Medicine faculty members in the Department of Family Medicine led the study and collaborated with colleagues from across the university and the state. OHSU authors include:
- Steffani Bailey, Ph.D., research assistant professor of family medicine, OHSU School of Medicine
- Jennifer DeVoe, M.D., D.Phil., associate professor of family medicine, OHSU School of Medicine
- John Heintzman, M.D., assistant professor of family medicine, OHSU School of Medicine
- Nathalie Huguet, Ph.D., senior research associate of family medicine, OHSU School of Medicine
- Miguel Marino, Ph.D., assistant professor of family medicine, OHSU School of Medicine (joint appointment in public health and preventive medicine)
- John McConnell, Ph.D., research associate professor of emergency medicine, OHSU School of Medicine and director, Center for Health Systems Effectiveness
In the three-year study, Medicaid coverage in Oregon led to a 39 percent higher rate of overall primary care utilization, 58 percent higher rate of referrals, 27 percent higher rate of orders for laboratory tests, and a 33 percent higher imaging rate compared to CHC patients who remained uninsured. These results indicate that insurance expansions could lead to increased demand for primary care services nationwide. With adequate resources to fully meet this demand, CHCs and primary care settings could help usher in better access to health care and improved health outcomes for previously uninsured patients.