To determine whether those persons whose sensory or physical functioning improved or worsened over one year are more or less satisfied with their health care.
1996 and 1997 Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS).
The MCBS surveys a nationally representative, longitudinal panel of Medicare beneficiaries about their sociodemographic attributes; vision, hearing, and various mobility functions; and 10 items representing satisfaction with and access to health care. Using multivariable logistic regression and controlling for sociodemographic factors, we computed adjusted odds ratios of dissatisfaction with care, examining the effects of changes in sensory or physical functioning. Analyses accounted for MCBS sampling weights.
We identified 9,974 community‐dwelling respondents, 18 years old and over who answered the 1996 and 1997 MCBS. We assessed five categories of sensory or physical functioning (vision; hearing; walking; reaching overhead; and grasping and writing) and compared 1996 and 1997 responses to identify those whose functioning improved or worsened.
Worsened functioning was strongly associated with older age, low income, and low educational attainment. Improved functioning was rarely significantly associated with satisfaction; an exception involved substantially lower rates of dissatisfaction with “ease and convenience” of getting to physicians. Worsened functioning was often statistically significantly associated with dissatisfaction, always with adjusted odds ratios >1.0. Across all five functional categories, persons whose functioning worsened displayed significantly greater dissatisfaction with overall quality, ease, and costs or care.
Persons whose functioning improved rarely reported better satisfaction than did those whose functioning did not improve, while those whose functioning worsened expressed more systematic reservations about their care.