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1.  Assessing the evolution of primary healthcare organizations and their performance (2005-2010) in two regions of Québec province: Montréal and Montérégie 
BMC Family Practice  2010;11:95.
The Canadian healthcare system is currently experiencing important organizational transformations through the reform of primary healthcare (PHC). These reforms vary in scope but share a common feature of proposing the transformation of PHC organizations by implementing new models of PHC organization. These models vary in their performance with respect to client affiliation, utilization of services, experience of care and perceived outcomes of care.
In early 2005 we conducted a study in the two most populous regions of Quebec province (Montreal and Montérégie) which assessed the association between prevailing models of primary healthcare (PHC) and population-level experience of care. The goal of the present research project is to track the evolution of PHC organizational models and their relative performance through the reform process (from 2005 until 2010) and to assess factors at the organizational and contextual levels that are associated with the transformation of PHC organizations and their performance.
This study will consist of three interrelated surveys, hierarchically nested. The first survey is a population-based survey of randomly-selected adults from two populous regions in the province of Quebec. This survey will assess the current affiliation of people with PHC organizations, their level of utilization of healthcare services, attributes of their experience of care, reception of preventive and curative services and perception of unmet needs for care. The second survey is an organizational survey of PHC organizations assessing aspects related to their vision, organizational structure, level of resources, and clinical practice characteristics. This information will serve to develop a taxonomy of organizations using a mixed methods approach of factorial analysis and principal component analysis. The third survey is an assessment of the organizational context in which PHC organizations are evolving. The five year prospective period will serve as a natural experiment to assess contextual and organizational factors (in 2005) associated with migration of PHC organizational models into new forms or models (in 2010) and assess the impact of this evolution on the performance of PHC.
The results of this study will shed light on changes brought about in the organization of PHC and on factors associated with these changes.
PMCID: PMC3014883  PMID: 21122145
2.  Perceptions of unmet healthcare needs: what do Punjabi and Chinese-speaking immigrants think? A qualitative study 
Unmet healthcare needs - the difference between healthcare services deemed necessary to deal with a particular health problem and the actual services received - is commonly measured by the question, "During the past 12 months, was there ever a time when you felt that you needed healthcare, but you didn't receive it?" In 2003, unmet needs were reported by 10% of immigrants in Canada, yet, little is known specifically about Chinese- or Punjabi-speaking immigrants' perceptions and reporting of unmet needs. Our study examined: 1) How are unmet healthcare needs conceptualized among Chinese- and Punjabi-speaking immigrants? 2) Are their primary healthcare experiences related to their unmet healthcare needs?
Twelve focus groups (6 Chinese, 6 Punjabi; n = 78) were conducted in Chinese or Punjabi and socio-demographic and health data were collected. Thematic analysis of focus group data examined the perceptions of unmet needs and any relationship to primary healthcare experiences.
Our analysis revealed two overarching themes: 1) defining an unmet healthcare need and 2) identifying an unmet need. Participants had unmet healthcare needs in relation to barriers to accessing care, their lack of health system literacy, and when the health system was less responsive than their expectations.
Asking whether someone ever had a time when they needed healthcare but did not receive it can either underestimate or overestimate unmet need. Measuring unmet need using single items is likely insufficient since more detail in a revised set of questions could begin to clarify whether the reporting of an unmet need was based on an expectation or a clinical need. Who defines what an unmet healthcare need is depends on the context (insured versus uninsured health services, experience in two or more healthcare systems versus experience in one healthcare system) and who is defining it (provider, patient, insurer).
PMCID: PMC2839978  PMID: 20175909
3.  Association between perceived unmet health care needs and risk of adverse health outcomes among patients with chronic medical conditions 
Open Medicine  2013;7(1):e21-e30.
Adults with chronic medical conditions are more likely to report unmet health care needs. Whether unmet health care needs are associated with an increased risk of adverse health outcomes is unclear.
Adults with at least one self-reported chronic condition (arthritis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes mellitus, heart disease, hypertension, mood disorder, stroke) from the 2001 and 2003 cycles of the Canadian Community Health Survey were linked to national hospitalization data. Participants were followed from the date of their survey until March 31, 2005, for the primary outcomes of all-cause and cause-specific admission to hospital. Secondary outcomes included length of stay, 30-day and 1-year all-cause readmission to hospital, and in-hospital death. Negative binomial regression models were used to estimate the association between unmet health care needs, admission to hospital, and length of stay, with adjustment for socio-demographic variables, health behaviours, and health status. Logistic regression was used to estimate the association between unmet needs, readmission, and in-hospital death. Further analyses were conducted by type of unmet need.
Of the 51 932 adults with self-reported chronic disease, 15.5% reported an unmet health care need. Participants with unmet health care needs had a risk of all-cause admission to hospital similar to that of patients with no unmet needs (adjusted rate ratio [RR] 1.04, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.94–1.15). When stratified by type of need, participants who reported issues of limited resource availability had a slightly higher risk of hospital admission (RR 1.18, 95% CI 1.09–1.28). There was no association between unmet needs and length of stay, readmission, or in-hospital death.
Overall, unmet health care needs were not associated with an increased risk of admission to hospital among those with chronic conditions. However, certain types of unmet needs may be associated with higher or lower risk. Whether unmet needs are associated with other measures of resource use remains to be determined.
PMCID: PMC3654502  PMID: 23687534
4.  The Case for Synergy Between a Usual Source of Care and Health Insurance Coverage 
Journal of General Internal Medicine  2011;26(9):1059-1066.
In 2010, the United States (US) passed health insurance reforms aimed at expanding coverage to the uninsured. Yet, disparities persist in access to health care services, even among the insured.
To examine the separate and combined association between having health insurance and/or a usual source of care (USC) and self-reported receipt of health care services.
Two-tailed, chi-square analyses and logistic regression models were used to analyze nationally representative pooled 2002–2007 data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS).
US adults (≥18 years of age) in the MEPS population who had at least one health care visit and who needed any care, tests, or treatment in the past year (n = 62,067).
We assessed the likelihood of an adult reporting unmet medical needs; unmet prescription needs; a problem getting care, tests, or treatment; and delayed care based on whether each individual had health insurance, a USC, both, or neither one.
Among adults who reported a doctor visit and a need for services in the past year, having both health insurance and a USC was associated with the lowest percentage of unmet medical needs, problems and delays in getting care while having neither one was associated with the highest unmet medical needs, problems and delays in care. After adjusting for potentially confounding covariates (age, race, ethnicity, employment, geographic residence, education, household income as a percent of federal poverty level, health status, and marital status ), compared with insured adults who also had a USC, insured adults without a USC were more likely to have problems getting care, tests or treatment (adjusted relative risk [aRR] 1.27; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.18–1.37); and also had a higher likelihood of experiencing a delay in urgent care (aRR 1.12; 95% CI 1.05–1.20).
Amidst ongoing health care reform, these findings suggest the important role that both health insurance coverage and a usual source of care may play in facilitating individuals’ access to care.
PMCID: PMC3157522  PMID: 21409476
health insurance; usual source of care; access to health care; health policy; health care reform
5.  Delayed Care and Unmet Needs among Health Care System Users: When Does Fiduciary Trust in a Physician Matter? 
Health Services Research  2005;40(6 Pt 1):1898-1917.
To examine whether fiduciary trust in a physician is related to unmet health care needs and delayed care among patients who have a regular physician, and to investigate whether the relationships between trust and unmet health care needs and delays in care are attenuated for disadvantaged patients who face structural obstacles to obtaining health care.
Data Sources/Study Setting
The 1998–1999 Community Tracking Study (CTS) Household Survey, a cross-sectional sample representative of the U.S. noninstitutionalized population. This study analyzes adults who usually see the same physician for their health care (n=29,994).
Study Design
We estimated logistic regression models of the association of trust with unmet health care needs and delayed care. We tested interactions between trust and barriers to obtaining care, including minority race/ethnicity, poverty, and the absence of health insurance. Control variables included patients' sociodemographic characteristics, health status, satisfaction with the available choice of primary physicians, and the number of physician visits during the last year.
Principal Findings
Patients' fiduciary trust in a physician is negatively associated with the likelihood of reporting delayed care and unmet health care needs among most patients. Among African Americans, Hispanics, the poor, and the uninsured, however, fiduciary trust is not significantly associated with the likelihood of delayed care. For unmet needs, only the uninsured have no significant association with trust.
Results show that trust is associated with improved chances of getting needed care across most subgroups of the population, although this relationship varies by subpopulation.
PMCID: PMC1361237  PMID: 16336555
Unmet health care needs; delayed care; utilization of services; patient–physician trust; barriers to care
6.  Measuring the Performance of Primary Healthcare: Existing Capacity and Potential Information to Support Population-Based Analyses 
Healthcare Policy  2009;5(Spec No):47-64.
What did we do?
We reviewed the degree to which existing population-based data in Canada can be used to describe and report on primary healthcare (PHC) performance. We identified gaps in current data sources and made recommendations on how these gaps might be addressed to support quality improvement and public reporting for PHC.
What did we learn?
Population-based survey and administrative data are available to describe population characteristics and other contextual factors for PHC, as well as some aspects of the material, financial and human resources inputs, and selected activities and decisions at the policy, management and clinical levels. Existing data can also be used to describe some volumes and types of PHC outputs. However, we currently have limited population-based data to assess selected qualities of PHC services (e.g., coordination and interpersonal effectiveness) and most immediate outcomes of PHC. The ability to link data to assess outcomes and attribute changes in outcomes to PHC is limited. A full report describing more than 130 indicators from existing data sources and gaps in current data is available at
What are the implications?
As we look to the future, there is a clear need to build on existing data sources to expand PHC data capacity in Canada. Data are needed to inform an understanding of PHC outputs, outcomes and the linkages among PHC dimensions. Commitment to a comprehensive PHC data collection strategy and information system is needed across Canadian provinces and territories to inform policy development and planning, to evaluate PHC redesign initiatives and to meet the accountability expectations of Canadians.
PMCID: PMC2906212  PMID: 21037903
7.  A Medical Home versus Temporary Housing: The Importance of a Stable Usual Source of Care Among Low-Income Children 
Pediatrics  2009;124(5):1363-1371.
Recent health care reform policies focus on finding the best medical home for everyone. Less is known about how the stability of a usual source of care (USC) over time impacts on structural access to care.
To examine the prevalence of USC changes among a low-income population of children, and how these changes were associated with unmet need.
Design and Methods
Cross-sectional, multivariable analyses of mail-return survey data from Oregon's food stamp program in January 2005. Results from 2,681 completed surveys were weighted back to a population of 84,087 families with adjustments for oversampling and non-response. The independent variable: whether a child had ever been required to change USC for insurance reasons. Dependent variables included: parents report of unmet medical need, unmet prescription need, missed medication doses, delayed urgent care, no ambulatory visits; and problems obtaining dental care, specialty care and counseling.
Nearly 23% of children had changed their USC due to insurance reasons, and 10% had no current USC. Compared to children who had maintained a stable USC, children who had changed their USC due to insurance reasons had higher rates of unmet medical need (unadjusted odds ratio [OR] 2.69, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.83, 3.29); unmet prescription need (OR 1.85, 95% CI 1.31, 2.61); delayed care (OR 1.87, 95% CI 1.21, 2.89); and reported more problems obtaining dental care (OR 1.66, 95% CI 1.20, 2.31) and counseling (OR 3.22, 95% CI 1.53, 6.77).
This study highlights the importance of ensuring stability with a USC. In our zeal to move people into new medical homes, we need to be wary of harming quality by disturbing existing care relationships, thus merely creating “temporary housing.”
PMCID: PMC3116519  PMID: 19841117
access to health care; pediatrics; health insurance; delivery of health care; primary care; continuity of patient care
8.  Meeting the home-care needs of disabled older persons living in the community: does integrated services delivery make a difference? 
BMC Geriatrics  2011;11:67.
The PRISMA Model is an innovative coordination-type integrated-service-delivery (ISD) network designed to manage and better match resources to the complex and evolving needs of elders. The goal of this study was to examine the impact of this ISD network on unmet needs among disabled older persons living in the community.
Using data from the PRISMA study, we compared unmet needs of elders living in the community in areas with or without an ISD network. Disabilities and unmet needs were assessed with the Functional Autonomy Measurement System (SMAF). We used growth-curve analysis to examine changes in unmet needs over time and the variables associated with initial status and change. Sociodemographic characteristics, level of disability, self-perceived health status, cognitive functioning, level of empowerment, and the hours of care received were investigated as covariates. Lastly, we report the prevalence of needs and unmet needs for 29 activities in both areas at the end of the study.
On average, participants were 83 years old; 62% were women. They had a moderate level of disability and mild cognitive problems. On average, they received 2.07 hours/day (SD = 1.08) of disability-related care, mostly provided by family. The findings from growth-curve analysis suggest that elders living in the area where ISD was implemented and those with higher levels of disability experience better fulfillment of their needs over time. Besides the area, being a woman, living alone, having a higher level of disability, more cognitive impairments, and a lower level of empowerment were linked to initial unmet needs (r2 = 0.25; p < 0.001). At the end of the study, 35% (95% CI: 31% to 40%) of elders with needs living in the ISD area had at least one unmet need, compared to 67% (95% CI: 62% to 71%) in the other area. In general, unmet needs were highest for bathing, grooming, urinary incontinence, walking outside, seeing, hearing, preparing meals, and taking medications.
In spite of more than 30 years of home-care services in the province of Quebec, disabled older adults living in the community still have unmet needs. ISD networks such as the PRISMA Model, however, appear to offer an effective response to the long-term-care needs of the elderly.
PMCID: PMC3271235  PMID: 22029878
9.  Reasons for Unmet Need for Child and Family Health Services among Children with Special Health Care Needs with and without Medical Homes 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e82570.
Medical homes, an important component of U.S. health reform, were first developed to help families of children with special health care needs (CSHCN) find and coordinate services, and reduce their children’s unmet need for health services. We hypothesize that CSHCN lacking medical homes are more likely than those with medical homes to report health system delivery or coverage problems as the specific reasons for unmet need.
Data are from the 2005-2006 National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs (NS-CSHCN), a national, population-based survey of 40,723 CSHCN. We studied whether lacking a medical home was associated with 9 specific reasons for unmet need for 11 types of medical services, controlling for health insurance, child’s health, and sociodemographic characteristics.
Weighted to the national population, 17% of CSHCN reported at least one unmet health service need in the previous year. CSHCN without medical homes were 2 to 3 times as likely to report unmet need for child or family health services, and more likely to report no referral (OR= 3.3), dissatisfaction with provider (OR=2.5), service not available in area (OR= 2.1), can’t find provider who accepts insurance (OR=1.8), and health plan problems (OR=1.4) as reasons for unmet need (all p<0.05).
CSHCN without medical homes were more likely than those with medical homes to report health system delivery or coverage reasons for unmet child health service needs. Attributable risk estimates suggest that if the 50% of CSHCN who lacked medical homes had one, overall unmet need for child health services could be reduced by as much as 35% and unmet need for family health services by 40%.
PMCID: PMC3858312  PMID: 24340042
10.  Patient-reported confidence in primary healthcare: are there disparities by ethnicity or language? 
BMJ Open  2014;4(2):e003884.
To examine whether confidence in primary healthcare (PHC) differs among ethnic–linguistic groups and which PHC experiences are associated with confidence.
A cross-sectional study where patient surveys were administered using random digit dialling. Regression models identify whether ethnic–linguistic group remains significantly associated with confidence in PHC.
British Columbia, Canada.
Main outcome measures
Confidence in PHC measured using a 0–10 scale, where a higher score indicates increased confidence in the ability to get needed PHC services.
Community-dwelling adults in the following ethnic–linguistic groups: English-speaking Chinese, Chinese-speaking Chinese, English-speaking South Asians, Punjabi-speaking South Asians and English-speakers of presumed European descent.
Based on a sample of 1211 respondents, confidence in PHC differed by ethnicity and the ability to speak English. Most of the differences in confidence by ethnic–linguistic group can be explained by various aspects of care experience. Patient experiences associated with lower confidence in PHC were: if care was received outside Canada, having to wait months to see their regular doctor and rating the quality of healthcare as good or fair/poor. Better patient experiences of their doctor being concerned about their feelings and being respectful and if they found wait times acceptable were associated with higher levels of confidence in PHC. The final regression model explained 30% of the variance.
Improving the delivery of PHC services through positive interactions between patients and their usual provider and acceptability of wait times are examples of how the PHC system can be strengthened.
PMCID: PMC3939667  PMID: 24568960
Primary Care; Health Services Administration & Management
11.  Prescription drug insurance and unmet need for health care: a cross-sectional analysis  
Open Medicine  2009;3(3):e178-e183.
Despite Canada’s universal health insurance coverage, many Canadians still report an unmet need for health care. I investigated whether not having prescription drug insurance increases the likelihood of reporting an unmet need for health care. I hypothesized that people without prescription drug insurance would be more likely than those with insurance to report an unmet health care need.
I included 31 630 people in Ontario 64 years of age or younger who had participated in the Canadian Community Health Survey Cycle 3.1. Multivariate logistic regression models were used to obtain an adjusted odds ratio (OR) for the association between having prescription drug insurance and reporting an unmet need for health care in the past 12 months, adjusting for age, sex, socio-economic status, health status and having a regular medical doctor. The reasons for reporting an unmet need for care were stratified into reasons related or not related to prescription drug insurance. Three separate multivariate logistic regressions were performed to obtain an adjusted OR for the association between prescription drug insurance and unmet need based on the reasons for reporting unmet need.
Not having prescription drug insurance that covers all or part of prescription medication costs increased the likelihood of reporting an unmet need for health care services (adjusted OR 1.27, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.16–1.39). Not having such insurance significantly increased the likelihood of reporting an unmet need for health care for reasons that were related to prescription drug insurance (adjusted OR 2.21, 95% CI 1.80–2.71). This relation was not significant when the analysis was restricted to people who reported unmet need for health care for reasons that did not relate to prescription drug insurance (adjusted OR 1.12, 95% CI 1.00–1.23).
These results suggest an association between a lack of prescription drug coverage and reporting an unmet need for health care. This association warrants further investigation.
PMCID: PMC3090122  PMID: 21603050
12.  Unmet Healthcare Needs in People with Disabilities: Comparison with the General Population in Korea 
Annals of Rehabilitation Medicine  2011;35(5):627-635.
To determine the degree of disparity in unmet healthcare needs between people with disabilities and the general population in South Korea, and to analyze their perspective reasons.
Survey results of 9,744 subjects that participated in the 4th Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and 7,000 people that participated in the 2008 Survey of Disabled people were used in this population-based cross-sectional study. Unmet healthcare needs were identified as reporting experience during the last 12 months when there was a need to see a doctor, but were unable to get it. We assessed unmet healthcare needs by demographic variables, social variables and characteristics of disability. Chi-square test and logistic regression were used to determine which variables were related to unmet healthcare needs.
A total of 22.1% of people with disabilities and 22.8% of the general population had unmet healthcare needs. However, brain impairment (25.3%) and physical impairment (25.2%) had more unmet healthcare needs than the general population and other disabilities. Unmet healthcare needs of people with disabilities was related to sex, age, self-perceived health, marital status, income, occupation and category of disability. Whereas the reasons for unmet healthcare needs in people with disabilities were lack of money (57.3%) and inaccessible transportation (12.8%), those for the general population were no available time (30.2%) and mild symptoms (23.8%).
Brain and physical impairment cases with limitations to accessible transportation had the higher unmet healthcare needs. In addition, the reasons for people with these disabilities were more environmental than those of the general population.
PMCID: PMC3309261  PMID: 22506184
Disabled persons; Population surveillance; Needs assessment
13.  Factors associated with unmet dental care needs in Canadian immigrants: an analysis of the longitudinal survey of immigrants to Canada 
BMC Oral Health  2014;14(1):145.
Immigrants are often considered to have poorer oral health than native born-populations. One possible explanation for immigrants’ poor oral health is lack of access to dental care. There is very little information on Canadian immigrants’ access to dental care, and unmet dental care needs. This study examines predictors of unmet dental care needs among a sample of adult immigrants to Canada over a three-point-five-year post-migration period.
A secondary data analysis was conducted on the Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada (LSIC). Sampling and bootstrap weights were applied to make the data nationally representative. Simple descriptive analyses were conducted to describe the demographic characteristics of the sample. Bivariate and multiple logistic regression analyses were applied to identify factors associated with immigrants’ unmet dental care needs over a three-point-five-year period.
Approximately 32% of immigrants reported unmet dental care needs. Immigrants lacking dental insurance (OR = 2.63; 95% CI: 2.05-3.37), and those with an average household income of $20,000 to $40,000 per year (OR = 1.62; 95% CI: 1.01-2.61), and lower than $20,000 (OR = 2.25; 95% CI: 1.31-3.86), were more likely to report unmet dental care needs than those earning more than $60,000 per year. In addition, South Asian (OR = 1.85; CI: 1.25-2.73) and Chinese (OR = 2.17; CI: 1.47-3.21) immigrants had significantly higher odds of reporting unmet dental care needs than Europeans.
Lack of dental insurance, low income and ethnicity predicted unmet dental care needs over a three-point-five-year period in a sample of immigrants to Canada.
PMCID: PMC4265528  PMID: 25465024
Dental care; Immigrants; Longitudinal studies; Canada
14.  A cross-sectional observational study of unmet health needs among homeless and vulnerably housed adults in three Canadian cities 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:577.
Homeless persons experience a high burden of health problems; yet, they face significant barriers in accessing health care. Less is known about unmet needs for care among vulnerably housed persons who live in poor-quality or temporary housing and are at high risk of becoming homeless. The objectives of this study were to examine the prevalence of and factors associated with unmet needs for health care in a population-based sample of homeless and vulnerably housed adults in three major cities within a universal health insurance system.
Participants were recruited at shelters, meal programs, community health centers, drop-in centers, rooming houses, and single room occupancy hotels in Vancouver, Toronto, and Ottawa, Canada, throughout 2009. Baseline interviews elicited demographic characteristics, health status, and barriers to health care. Logistic regression was used to identify factors associated with self-reported unmet needs for health care in the past 12 months.
Of the 1,181 participants included in the analysis, 445 (37%) reported unmet needs. In adjusted analyses, factors associated with a greater odds of reporting unmet needs were having employment in the past 12 months (AOR = 1.40, 95% CI = 1.03–1.91) and having ≥3 chronic health conditions (AOR = 2.17, 95% CI = 1.24–3.79). Having higher health-related quality of life (AOR = 0.21, 95% CI = 0.09–0.53), improved mental (AOR = 0.97, 95% CI = 0.96–0.98) or physical health (AOR = 0.98, 95% CI = 0.96–0.99), and having a primary care provider (AOR = 0.63, 95% CI = 0.46–0.85) decreased the odds of reporting unmet needs.
Homeless and vulnerably housed adults have a similar likelihood of experiencing unmet health care needs. Strategies to improve access to primary care and reduce barriers to accessing care in these populations are needed.
PMCID: PMC3691921  PMID: 23764199
Access to care; Homelessness; Housing; Primary care; Public health policy
15.  Prevalence and correlates of cancer survivors’ supportive care needs 6 months after diagnosis: a population-based cross-sectional study 
BMC Cancer  2012;12:150.
An understanding of the nature and magnitude of the impact of cancer is critical to planning how best to deliver supportive care to the growing population of cancer survivors whose need for care may span many years. This study aimed to describe the prevalence of and factors associated with moderate to high level unmet supportive care needs among adult cancer survivors six months after diagnosis.
A population-based sample of adult cancer survivors diagnosed with one of the eight most incident cancers in Australia was recruited from two state-based cancer registries. Data for 1323 survivors were obtained by self-report questionnaire and linkage with cancer registry data. Unmet needs were assessed by the 34-item Supportive Care Needs Survey (SCNS-SF34). The data were examined using chi-square and multiple logistic regression analyses.
A total of 444 (37%) survivors reported at least one ‘moderate to high’ level unmet need and 496 (42%) reported ‘no need’ for help. Moderate to high level unmet needs were most commonly reported in the psychological (25%) and physical aspects of daily living (20%) domains. The five most frequently endorsed items of moderate to high unmet need were concerns about the worries of those close to them (15%), fears about the cancer spreading (14%), not being able to do the things they used to do (13%), uncertainty about the future (13%) and lack of energy/tiredness (12%). Survivors’ psychological characteristics were the strongest indicators of unmet need, particularly caseness for anxious preoccupation coping which was associated (OR = 2.2-5.9) with unmet need for help across all domains.
Unmet supportive care needs are prevalent among a subgroup of survivors transitioning from active treatment to survivorship, although lower than previously reported. In addition to coping support, valuable insight about how to prevent or address survivors’ unmet needs could be gained by examining the substantial proportion of survivors who report no unmet needs.
PMCID: PMC3430551  PMID: 22510387
16.  Does Receiving Clinical Preventive Services Vary across Different Types of Primary Healthcare Organizations? Evidence from a Population-Based Survey 
Healthcare Policy  2010;6(2):67-84.
To measure the association between primary healthcare (PHC) organizational types and patient coverage for clinical preventive services (CPS).
Study conducted in Quebec (2005), including a population-based survey of patients' experience of care (N=4,417) and a survey of PHC clinics.
Outcome measures:
Patient-reported CPS delivery rates and CPS coverage scores. Multiple logistic regressions used to assess factors associated with higher probability of receiving CPS.
CPS delivery rates were higher among patients with a regular source of PHC. Higher CPS score was associated with having a public (OR 1.79; 95% CI 1.35—2.37) or mixed (OR 1.22; 95% CI 1.01—1.48) type of organization as source of PHC compared to a private one, and having had a high number of visits to the regular source of PHC in the past two years (≤6: OR 1.83; 95% CI 1.41—2.38) compared to a single visit.
Public and mixed PHC organizations seem to perform better. CPS delivery is strongly associated with having a regular source of care.
PMCID: PMC3016636  PMID: 22043224
17.  Vulnerability and Unmet Health Care Needs 
Previous studies have demonstrated a strong association between minority race, low socioeconomic status (SES), and lack of potential access to care (e.g., no insurance coverage and no regular source of care) and poor receipt of health care services. Most studies have examined the independent effects of these risk factors for poor access, but more practical models are needed to account for the clustering of multiple risks.
To present a profile of risk factors for poor access based on income, insurance coverage, and having a regular source of care, and examine the association of the profiles with unmet health care needs due to cost. Relationships are examined by race/ethnicity.
Analysis of 32,374 adults from the 2000 National Health Interview Survey.
Reported unmet needs due to cost: missing/delaying needed medical care, and delaying obtaining prescriptions, mental health care, or dental care.
Controlling for personal demographic and community factors, individuals who were low income, uninsured, and had no regular source of care were more likely to miss or delay needed health care services due to cost. After controlling for these risk factors, whites were more likely than other racial/ethnic groups to report unmet needs. When presented as a risk profile, a clear gradient existed in the likelihood of having an unmet need according to the number of risk factors, regardless of racial/ethnic group.
Unmet health care needs due to cost increased with higher risk profiles for each racial and ethnic group. Without attention to these co-occurring risk factors for poor access, it is unlikely that substantial reductions in disparities will be made in assuring access to needed health care services among vulnerable populations.
PMCID: PMC1490048  PMID: 15836548
race/ethnicity; SES; vulnerability; access to care; disparities
18.  Health Care for Homeless Women 
Homelessness is a significant and growing problem in the United States. Women and families are the fastest growing segments of the homeless population. Homelessness increases the risk of having health problems and encountering barriers to care. This study determines how much perceived unmet need for medical care there is among homeless women, what homeless women perceive to be barriers to health care, and how barriers and other factors are associated with unmet needs.
Cross-sectional study of homeless women, utilizing structured interviews.
Community-based probability sample of 974 homeless women aged 15 to 44 years.
Perceived unmet need for medical care in the past 60 days. Relationship between unmet need and demographic variables, place of stay, source of health care, insurance, and perceived barriers to care.
Of the 974 women, 37% reported unmet need for medical care. Controlling for other factors, the odds of unmet need were lower among those with a regular source of care (odds ratio [OR] to .35, 95% confidence interval [CI], .21 to 58), while having health insurance was not significantly associated. The odds of unmet need were higher among those who experienced the barriers: not knowing where to go (OR 2.27, 95% CI, 1.40 to 3.69), long office waiting times (OR 1.89, 95% CI 1.27 to 2.83) and being too sick to seek care (OR 2.03, 95% CI, 1.14 to 3.62).
There is significant unmet need for medical care among homeless women. Having a regular source of care was more important than health insurance in lowering the odds of unmet need. Homeless women must be educated regarding sources of care, and clinics serving the homeless must decrease waiting times.
PMCID: PMC1494940  PMID: 14687278
barriers; homeless; unmet need; vulnerable population; women
19.  Medicaid Managed Care and the Unmet Need for Mental Health Care among Children with Special Health Care Needs 
Health Services Research  2008;43(3):882-900.
To determine the association between Medicaid managed care pediatric behavioral health programs and unmet need for mental health care among children with special health care needs (CSHCN).
Data Source
The National Survey of CSHCN (2000–2002), using subsets of 4,400 CSHCN with Medicaid and 1,856 CSHCN with Medicaid and emotional problems. Additional state-level sources were used.
Study Design
Multilevel models investigated the association between managed care program type (carve-out, integrated) or fee-for-service (FFS) and reported unmet mental health care need.
Data Collection/Extraction Methods
The National Survey of CSHCN conducted telephone interviews with a sample representative at both the national and state levels.
Principal Findings
In multivariable models, among CSHCN with only Medicaid, living in states with Medicaid managed care (odds ratio [OR]=1.81; 95 percent confidence interval: 1.04–3.15) or carve-out programs (OR=1.93; 1.01–3.69) were associated with greater reported unmet mental health care need compared with FFS programs. Among CSHCN on Medicaid with emotional problems, the association between managed care and unmet need was stronger (OR=2.48; 1.38–4.45).
State Medicaid pediatric behavioral health managed care programs were associated with greater reported unmet mental health care need than FFS programs among CSHCN insured by Medicaid, particularly for those with emotional problems.
PMCID: PMC2442244  PMID: 18454773
Medicaid; children with special needs; mental health; managed care; carve-out
20.  Prevalence and profiles of unmet healthcare need in Thailand 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:923.
In the light of the universal healthcare coverage that was achieved in Thailand in 2002, policy makers have raised concerns about whether there is still unmet need within the population. Our objectives were to assess the annual prevalence, characteristics and reasons for unmet healthcare need in the Thai population in 2010 and to compare our findings with relevant international literature.
A standard set of OECD unmet need questionnaires was used in a nationally-representative household survey conducted in 2010 by the National Statistical Office. The prevalence of unmet need among respondents with various socio-economic characteristics was estimated to determine an inequity in the unmet need and the reasons behind it.
The annual prevalence of unmet need for outpatient and inpatient services in 2010 was 1.4% and 0.4%, respectively. Despite this low prevalence, there are inequities with relatively higher proportion of the unmet need among Universal Coverage Scheme members, and the poor and rural populations. There was less unmet need due to cost than there was due to geographical barriers. The prevalence of unmet need due to cost and geographical barriers among the richest and poorest quintiles were comparable to those of selected OECD countries. The geographical extension of healthcare infrastructure and of the distribution of health workers is a major contributing factor to the low prevalence of unmet need.
The low prevalence of unmet need for both outpatient and inpatient services is a result of the availability of well-functioning health services at the most peripheral level, and of the comprehensive benefit package offered free of charge by all health insurance schemes. This assessment prompts a need for regular monitoring of unmet need in nationally-representative household surveys.
PMCID: PMC3534405  PMID: 23110321
Unmet need; Inequity; Access to healthcare; Health policies
21.  Geographical variation of unmet medical needs in Italy: a multivariate logistic regression analysis 
Unmet health needs should be, in theory, a minor issue in Italy where a publicly funded and universally accessible health system exists. This, however, does not seem to be the case. Moreover, in the last two decades responsibilities for health care have been progressively decentralized to regional governments, which have differently organized health service delivery within their territories. Regional decision-making has affected the use of health care services, further increasing the existing geographical disparities in the access to care across the country. This study aims at comparing self-perceived unmet needs across Italian regions and assessing how the reported reasons - grouped into the categories of availability, accessibility and acceptability – vary geographically.
Data from the 2006 Italian component of the European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions are employed to explore reasons and predictors of self-reported unmet medical needs among 45,175 Italian respondents aged 18 and over. Multivariate logistic regression models are used to determine adjusted rates for overall unmet medical needs and for each of the three categories of reasons.
Results show that, overall, 6.9% of the Italian population stated having experienced at least one unmet medical need during the last 12 months. The unadjusted rates vary markedly across regions, thus resulting in a clear-cut north–south divide (4.6% in the North-East vs. 10.6% in the South). Among those reporting unmet medical needs, the leading reason was problems of accessibility related to cost or transportation (45.5%), followed by acceptability (26.4%) and availability due to the presence of too long waiting lists (21.4%). In the South, more than one out of two individuals with an unmet need refrained from seeing a physician due to economic reasons. In the northern regions, working and family responsibilities contribute relatively more to the underutilization of medical services. Logistic regression results suggest that some population groups are more vulnerable than others to experiencing unmet health needs and to reporting some categories of reasons. Adjusting for the predictors resulted in very few changes in the rank order of macro-area rates.
Policies to address unmet health care needs should adopt a multidimensional approach and be tailored so as to consider such geographical heterogeneities.
PMCID: PMC3662566  PMID: 23663530
Italy; Unmet health care needs; Access to health care; Barriers to health care; Decentralization
22.  Usual Source of Care and Unmet Need Among Vulnerable Children: 1998–2006 
Pediatrics  2009;123(2):e214-e219.
The purpose of this work was to identify the proportions of publicly (Medicaid and State Child Health Insurance Program) insured and uninsured children who did not identify a usual source of care from 1998 to 2006, spanning the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (1997 to present) and the President’s Health Center Initiative (2002 to present), and to characterize unmet medical need as it relates to insurance and a usual source of care for publicly insured and uninsured children.
We conducted a secondary data analysis of multiple years of the National Health Interview Survey. We identified the proportion of publicly insured and uninsured children aged 0 to 17 years who did not identify a usual source of care and stratified according to the site of care. We described the odds of reporting an unmet medical need according to insurance status and usual source of care, compared with privately insured children with a usual source of care. Sample weights were used to derive national estimates.
From 1998 through 2006, there were significant increases in the proportions of children enrolled in Medicaid (16.7%–24.5%) and the State Child Health Insurance Program (2.0%–5.3%). The proportion of uninsured children has remained stable from 2002 to 2006 at ~10%. However, the proportion of uninsured reporting no usual source of care increased from 17.8% to 23.3%. Hispanic children had significant increases in the proportions of the uninsured and reporting no usual source of care by 2006. Hispanics constituted the largest proportion in both groups. Uninsured children and children without a usual source of care reported the highest odds of unmet need. Among the insured, publicly insured children had twice the odds of reporting an unmet need compared with privately insured children.
During the State Child Health Insurance Program and the President’s Health Center Initiative, growing proportions of uninsured children reported no usual source of care. Unmet medical need was the highest for the uninsured and those without a usual source of care. These findings suggest that initiatives designed to improve access to care must combine broadened insurance coverage with enhanced access to usual sources of care.
PMCID: PMC2787198  PMID: 19171573
usual source of care; Medicaid; SCHIP; uninsured; children; health center
23.  Rising Inability to Obtain Needed Health Care Among Homeless Persons in Birmingham, Alabama (1995–2005) 
Homeless persons depend disproportionately on the health-care safety net for medical services. National reports identify financial strains to this safety net. Whether this has affected homeless persons is unknown.
We quantified changes in the proportion of homeless persons reporting unmet need for health care in Birmingham, Alabama, comparing two periods, 1995 and 2005. We assessed whether a period effect was independent of characteristics of persons surveyed.
Analysis of two surveys conducted with identical methods among representative samples of homeless persons in 1995 (n = 161) and 2005 (n = 161).
Report of unmet need (inability to obtain care when needed) was the dependent variable. Two survey periods (1995 and 2005) were compared, with multivariable adjustment for sociodemographic and health characteristics. Reasons for unmet need were determined among the subset of persons reporting unmet need.
Unmet need for health care was more common in 2005 (54%) than in 1995 (32%) (p < 0.0001), especially for non-Blacks (64%) and females (65%). Adjusting for individual characteristics, a survey year of 2005 independently predicted unmet need (odds ratio 2.68, 95% CI 1.49–4.83). Among persons reporting unmet need (87 of 161 in 2005; 52 of 161 in 1995), financial barriers were more commonly cited in 2005 (67% of 87) than in 1995 (42% of 52) (p = 0.01).
A rise in unmet health-care needs was reported among Birmingham’s homeless from 1995 to 2005. This period effect was independent of population characteristics and may implicate a local safety net inadequacy. Additional data are needed to determine if this represents a national trend.
PMCID: PMC2695531  PMID: 19415393
homeless persons; access to care; safety net; survey
24.  Impact of Québec’s healthcare reforms on the organization of primary healthcare (PHC): a 2003-2010 follow-up 
Healthcare reforms initiated in the early 2000s in Québec involved the implementation of new modes of primary healthcare (PHC) delivery and the creation of Health and Social Services Centers (HSSCs) to support it. The objective of this article is to assess and explain the degree of PHC organizational change achieved following these reforms.
We conducted two surveys of PHC organizations, in 2005 and 2010, in two regions of the province of Québec, Canada. From the responses to these surveys, we derived a measure of organizational change based on an index of conformity to an ideal type (ICIT). One set of explanatory variables was contextual, related to coercive, normative and mimetic influences; the other consisted of organizational variables that measured receptivity towards new PHC models. Multilevel analyses were performed to examine the relationships between ICIT change in the post-reform period and the explanatory variables.
Positive results were attained, as expressed by increase in the ICIT score in the post-reform period, mainly due to implementation of new types of PHC organizations (Family Medicine Groups and Network Clinics). Organizational receptivity was the main explanatory variable mediating the effect of coercive and mimetic influences. Normative influence was not a significant factor in explaining changes.
Changes were modest at the system level but important with regard to new forms of PHC organizations. The top-down decreed reform was a determining factor in initiating change whereas local coercive and normative influences did not play a major role. The exemplar role played by certain PHC organizations through mimetic influence was more important. Receptivity of individual organizations was both a necessary condition and a mediating factor in influencing change. This supports the view that a combination of top-down and bottom-up strategy is best suited for achieving substantial changes in PHC local organization.
PMCID: PMC4035759  PMID: 24886490
Primary healthcare organization; Healthcare reform; Organizational change; Family practice
25.  Access to Care for Women Veterans: Delayed Healthcare and Unmet Need 
Journal of General Internal Medicine  2011;26(Suppl 2):655-661.
Timely access to healthcare is essential to ensuring optimal health outcomes, and not surprisingly, is at the heart of healthcare reform efforts. While the Veterans Health Administration (VA) has made improved access a priority, women veterans still underutilize VA healthcare relative to men. Eliminating access disparities requires a better understanding of the barriers to care that women veterans’ experience.
We examined the association of general and veteran-specific barriers on access to healthcare among women veterans.
Cross-sectional, population-based national telephone survey of 3,611 women veterans.
Delayed healthcare or unmet healthcare need in the prior 12 months.
Of women veterans, 19% had delayed healthcare or unmet need, with higher rates in younger age groups (36%, 29%, 16%, 7%, respectively, in 18–34, 35–49, 50–64, and 65-plus age groups; p < 0.001). Among those delaying or going without care, barriers that varied by age group were: unaffordable healthcare (63% of 18–34 versus 12% of 65-plus age groups); inability to take off from work (39% of those <50); and transportation difficulties (36% of 65-plus). Controlling for age, race/ethnicity, regular source of care, and health status, being uninsured (OR = 6.5; confidence interval [CI] 3.0–14.0), knowledge gaps about VA care (OR = 2.1; 95% CI 1.1–4.0), perception that VA providers are not gender-sensitive (OR = 2.4; CI 1.2–4.7), and military sexual assault history (OR = 2.1; CI 1.1–4.0) predicted delaying or foregoing care, whereas VA use and enrollment priority did not.
Both general and veteran-specific factors impact women veterans’ access to needed services. Many of the identified access barriers are potentially modifiable through expanded VA healthcare and social services. Health reform efforts should address these barriers for VA nonusers. Efforts are also warranted to improve women veterans’ knowledge of availability and affordability of VA healthcare, and to enhance the gender-sensitivity of this care.
PMCID: PMC3191223  PMID: 21989618
access to care; women veterans; VA healthcare; health services need; health services utilization

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