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Essays on Community Characteristics Associated with Potentially Preventable Hospitalizations Open Access

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Adequate access to primary care is an integral part of any health care system. One indicator for access outcomes is potentially preventable hospitalizations (PPH), i.e., a hospitalization that occurs when a patient is hospitalized for an ambulatory care sensitive condition (ACSC). PPHs are of interest because the additional costs of caring for a patient in a hospital with an ACSC, as opposed to in a primary care setting, are substantial, for patients, payers, and hospitals. Identifying the factors associated with PPH will aid in policymaking, improve access to care, and reduce the burden on the health care system.To address the gaps in the literature, I analyze how community-level access to care resources and state policies are associated with PPH using nationally representative data, while controlling for individual patient characteristics and community-level demographics. Multiple publicly available and restricted use data sources are linked to create a comprehensive data set that is used to investigate the relationship between PPH rates and community access to care factors. The dissertation addresses the following three objectives: (1) To determine the association between state Medicaid policies and the odds of a potentially preventable hospitalization; (2) To assess how primary care capacity and the odds of a potentially preventable hospitalization varies across the urbanization spectrum; and (3) To assess how primary care capacity and the odds of PPH varies for chronic and acute ACSCs.The findings are summarized below:- An analysis of state Medicaid policies does not find any significant associations between the odds of PPH and Medicaid generosity index and managed care penetration. - Primary care physician supply and the presence of a federally qualified health center are associated with a lower odds of PPH across the urbanization spectrum. - Physician supply, primary care and specialist, is associated with a lower odds of PPH for chronic ACSCs, while nurse practitioner and physician assistant supply is associated with a lower odds of PPH for acute ACSCs. The presence of a federally qualified health center is associated with lower odds of PPH for both chronic and acute ACSCs.

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