Health Services Utilization
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 2004, almost 90 percent of women reported having a usual source
of care. Women of all racial and ethnic groups were more likely
than men to have a usual source of care, with Asians being the sole
exception. Among women, non-Hispanic Whites were most likely to
report a usual source of care (91.5 percent), followed by non-Hispanic
Blacks (90.3 percent); Hispanic women were least likely to report
a usual source of care (77.8 percent).
In 2004, 86.5 percent of women reported an office-based
source of care (such as a physician’s office), while fewer
than 1 percent reported an emergency department as their usual source.
This varied by citizenship status: women born in the United States
were more likely to report an office-based usual source of care
and non-citizen residents of the United States were less likely.
Non-citizens were also the most likely to report no usual source
1 Ettner 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.
2 Sox CM, Swartz K, Burstin HR, Brennan
TA. Insurance or a regular physician: which is the most powerful
predictor of health care? AJPH 1998;88(3):364-70.
3 Weiss LJ, Blustein J. Faithful
patients: the effect of long-term physician-patient relationships
on the cost and use of health care by older Americans. AJPH 1996;86(12):1742-7.