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Acceptance of New Medicaid Patients by Primary Care Physicians and Experiences with Physician Availability among Children on Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program

Keywords: State health policies; primary care; access; demand; utilization of services

Objective: To estimate the relationship between physicians' acceptance of new Medicaid patients and access to health care.

Data Sources: The National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS) Electronic Health Records Survey and the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) 2011/2012.

Study Design: Linear probability models estimated the relationship between measures of experiences with physician availability among children on Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) from the NHIS and state-level estimates of the percent of primary care physicians accepting new Medicaid patients from the NAMCS, controlling for other factors.

Principal Findings: Nearly 16 percent of children with a significant health condition or development delay had a doctor's office or clinic indicate that the child's health insurance was not accepted in states with less than 60 percent of physicians accepting new Medicaid patients, compared to less than 4 percent in states with at least 75 percent of physicians accepting new Medicaid patients. Adjusted estimates and estimates for other measures of access to care were similar.

Conclusions: Measures of experiences with physician availability for children on Medicaid/CHIP were generally good, though better in states where more primary care physicians accepted new Medicaid patients.

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