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 department,
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 2005, 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. Among women, non-Hispanic
Whites were most likely to report a usual source of care
(91.8 percent), followed by non-Hispanic Blacks (89.9 percent);
Hispanic women were least likely to report a usual source
of care (78.5 percent).
In 2005, 86.9 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
was their usual source of care. This varied by family income
level. Women with family incomes under 100 percent of the
Federal poverty level (FPL) were more likely to report that
hospital outpatient departments (1.5 percent) and emergency
departments (1.9 percent) were the places they usually go
when sick, and were more likely to have no usual source
of care (17.1 percent) than those with higher income levels.
Only 0.2 percent of women whose family incomes were at 300
percent or more of FPL named emergency departments as the
place they usually go when sick, and only 6.1 percent had
no usual source of care.