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Geriatrician and Other Physician Disciplines as the Usual Source of Care for Rural and Urban Older Adults: 2004-2010 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey

Introduction

The purpose of this study is to examine the trend of usual source care (USC) rates and the discipline of choice among rural and urban older adults. Data used in this study were obtained from 2004 to 2010 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. The yearly percentages of having a specific discipline as the USC were demonstrated from 2004 to 2010. The association of residence with likelihoods of having any of these three physician categories as USCs was assessed holding other individual characteristics constant. The overall sample size is 24,834, of which 20.0% of older adults resided in rural areas. A similar percentage of older adults living in urban areas had USCs than that of rural areas (93.69% vs. 93.46%). Overall, family practitioners were the most common USC noted in this survey while geriatricians are the least. The urban older adults are more likely than the rural ones to have geriatricians as their USC. Geriatrician discipline receives the most intensive education and training to care for older adults. The growing aging population makes it imperative to address the crisis of geriatrician shortage.

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