USUAL SOURCE OF CARE
Women who have a usual source of care (a place they usually
go when they are sick) are more likely to receive preventive care,1
to have access to care (as indicated by use of a physician or emergency
room, or not delaying seeking care when needed),2 to
receive continuous care, and to have lower rates of hospitalization
and lower health care costs.3 In 2003, the percentage
of women reporting a usual source of care rose with age, from a
low of 81.8 percent among women 18 to 24 years of age, to a high
of 97.3 percent among those aged 65 years and older.
Usual sources of care varied among racial and ethnic groups. Hispanic
women were the most likely to report no usual source of care (19.8
percent). Non-Hispanic White women were the most likely to report
an office setting as a usual source of care (90.7 percent), while
non-Hispanic Black women were the most likely to use a hospital
outpatient clinic or an emergency room as a usual source of care
(3.2 and 1.6 percent, respectively).
1Ettner SL. The relationship between continuity of
care and the health behaviors of patients: does a usual physician
make a difference? Medical Care 1999;37(6):647-55.
2Sox CM, Swartz K, Burstin HR, Brennan TA. Insurance
or a regular physician: which is the most powerful predictor of
health care? American Journal of Public Health 1998;88(3):364-70.
3Weiss LJ, Blustein J. Faithful patients: the effect
of long-term physician-patient relationships on the cost and use
of health care by older Americans. American Journal of Public Health