(ABC) – Primary doctor visits with children have been dropping over the last decade.
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine looked at claims data for children 17-years old and younger covered by a large national commercial health plan.
After looking at data from 71 million pediatric primary care visits, there was a drop in primary care visits by 14.4% from 2008 to 2016.
The cause of this is likely due to visits to other settings like urgent care, retail clinics, emergency departments, telemedicine, and specialty care.
Another cause of the decrease is due to an increase in financial barriers.
This is because there was an observed 42% increase in costs for these visits when median household income increased by only 5% during this same time period.
Children in families reporting higher out-of-pocket costs are more likely to have unmet health care needs, and increases of even $1,00 to $10.00 in copayments are associated with fewer visits.
This study sheds light on the fact that there is likely an unmet need for care which warrants attention and research into a solution.