Navigation Links
Recession Drove Down Doctor Visits, Study Says

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Jan. 7 (HealthDay News) -- During the recession from 2007 to 2009, fewer Americans visited doctors or filled prescriptions, according to a new report.

The report, based on a survey of more than 54,000 Americans, also found that racial disparities in access to health care increased during the so-called Great Recession, but emergency department visits stayed steady.

"We were expecting a significant reduction in health care use, particularly for minorities," said co-author Karoline Mortensen, an assistant professor in the department of health services administration at the University of Maryland School of Public Health.

"What we saw were some reductions across the board -- whites and Hispanics were less likely to use physician visits, prescription fills and in-patient stays," she said. "But that's the only disparity we saw, which was a surprise to us. We didn't see a drop in emergency room care."

Whether these altered patterns of health care resulted in more deaths or suffering isn't clear.

In terms of unemployment and loss of income and health insurance, blacks and Hispanics were affected more severely than whites during the recent economic downturn, according to background information in the study.

That was borne out in health care patterns. Compared to whites, Hispanics and blacks were less likely to see doctors or fill prescriptions and more likely to use emergency department care, Mortensen said.

Mortensen believes the Affordable Care Act will help level access to care for such people, and provide a buffer in the event of another economic slide.

"Preventive services without cost-sharing will entice people to use those services," she said. "And insuring all the people who don't have health insurance should level the playing field to some extent."

For the study, which was published online Jan. 7 in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, Mortensen and her colleague, Jie Chen, an assistant professor in the same department, collected data on health care use from 2007 to 2009 from the nationwide Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. Adults aged 18 to 64 participated in the survey.

Experts weren't startled by the findings.

"People tighten up during a recession," said Dr. Ted Epperly, former president and chairman of the board of the American Academy of Family Physicians.

"In tough times there will be a disproportionate impact of use of health care on the disadvantaged," said Epperly, who is program director and CEO of Family Medicine Residency of Idaho, in Boise. The disadvantaged are usually "sicker and die younger," he said.

Epperly said the Affordable Care Act's emphasis on preventive care is overdue. "We are a nation based on reaction to health care not pro-action, if you will," he said. "We are way behind the eight ball in terms of treating things late, when it's more expensive. That's part of our crisis in health care costs."

Another expert, Dr. Pascal James Imperato, dean of the School of Public Health at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in New York City, said federal and state programs may have enabled some people to pick up health care coverage during the recession.

"But some unemployed individuals may be ineligible for Medicaid, and the absence of that safety-net coverage prevents them from accessing self-pay health services," he said.

Also, he added, "some who remain employed in a depressed economy may not have employer-sponsored health insurance, or, if they do, cannot afford what have become for many very high deductibles."

Epperly said getting people health coverage "so we can drive them toward primary care and access to prevention, wellness, chronic-disease management and less reactive care" will be the game-changer.

More information

For more information on the Affordable Care Act, visit

SOURCES: Karoline Mortensen, Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Health Services Administration, University of Maryland, College Park; Pascal James Imperato, M.D., M.P.H., Dean and Distinguished Service Professor, School of Public Health, SUNY Downstate Medical Center, New York City; Ted Epperly, M.D., Program Director and CEO, Family Medicine Residency of Idaho, Boise, and former president and board chairman, American Academy of Family Physicians; Jan. 7, 2013, JAMA Internal Medicine

Copyright©2012 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Hospitals in recession-hit areas see uptick in serious cases of child physical abuse
2. Recessions bite: Nearly 4 million Californians struggled to put food on table during downturn
3. Great recession reflux amounts to more hunger among seniors
4. Three Surgeons of Los Angeles Colon and Rectal Surgical Associates Have Received the Prestigious 2013 Los Angeles SuperDoctors Award for the Second Year in a Row
5. Breastfeeding tips women share intrigue doctors
6. Doctor-Patient Communication Key to Sticking With Meds
7. Virtual patient may help future doctors prevent suicide
8. Year’s Recap Includes Office Relocation and Awards for Permanent Makeup Doctor
9. Probiotic Action, Best Treatment for Acne Company, Commends Doctor’s Tips to Prevent Dry Skin
10. RISD Sophomore Contributes Illustrations to Doctor Engelland's book on Concussions
11. Car Crashes Common for Sleepy Doctors in Training: Study
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Recession Drove Down Doctor Visits, Study Says
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... authorized OSHA Training Institute Education Center headquartered in Northern California, has issued an ... extreme heat at their worksites. Employers with workers exposed to high temperatures ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... , ... "FCPX editors can now reveal their media with growing colorful split ... Austin - CEO of Pixel Film Studios. , ProSlice Color brings the split ... now reveal the media of their split screens with growing colorful panels. , ProSlice ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... health professionals, announced today its affiliation with Tennessee Counseling Association. This ... the network of the Tennessee Counseling Association, adding exclusive benefits and promotional offers. ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... Lafayette, California (PRWEB) , ... ... ... a pioneer in the patient payment industry today announced its strategic partnership ... and health system workflows. , The two companies’ proven, proprietary technology combine ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... 27, 2016 , ... A revolution is underway. Brooklyn-based ... experience for the millions of people who require these medical transport services annually. ... through the use of technology. Now, SmartEMS has put forth an industry-changing app ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/26/2016)... Australia,s successful biotechnology scientists, Dr Graham ... Noxopharm Limited [ABN 50 608 966 123] ("Noxopharm"). Noxopharm is seeking ... ASX. Noxopharm is a clinic-ready company with its first ... study later this year. NOX66 ... cancer patients - the ability of cancers to become resistant to ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... Jazz Pharmaceuticals plc (Nasdaq: JAZZ ... Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended ("HSR"), with ... ("Celator"; Nasdaq: CPXX ) expired effective June ... As previously announced on May 31, 2016, Jazz ... under which Jazz Pharmaceuticals has commenced a tender offer ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... , June 27, 2016  VMS Rehab Systems, Inc. ... will take whatever measures required to build a strong ... which is currently listed on the OTC Markets-pink current ... Chairman and CEO, "We are seeing an anomaly in ... understand, not only by the Company, but shareholders and ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: