Health Policy 116:264-272.
McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada; Direction de la santé publique de l’Agence de la Santé et des services sociaux de Montréal, Montreal, QC, Canada
PURPOSE: New models of delivering primary care are being implemented in various countries. In Quebec, Family Medicine Groups (FMGs) are a team-based approach to enhance access to, and coordination of, care. We examined whether physicians’ and patients’ characteristics predicted their participation in this new model of primary care.
METHODS: Using provincial administrative data, we created a population cohort of Quebec’s vulnerable patients. We collected data before the advent of FMGs on patients’ demographic characteristics, chronic illnesses and health service use, and their physicians’ demographics, and practice characteristics. Multivariate regression was used to identify key predictors of joining a FMG among both patients and physicians.
RESULTS: Patients who eventually enrolled in a FMG were more likely to be female, reside outside of an urban region, have a lower SES status, have diabetes and congestive heart failure, visit the emergency department for ambulatory sensitive conditions and be hospitalized for any cause. They were also less likely to have hypertension, visit an ambulatory clinic and have a usual provider of care. Physicians who joined a FMG were less likely to be located in urban locations, had fewer years in medical practice, saw more patients in hospital, and had patients with lower morbidity.
CONCLUSIONS: Physicians’ practice characteristics and patients’ health status and health care service use were important predictors of joining a FMG. To avoid basing policy decisions on tenuous evidence, policymakers and researchers should account for differential selection into team-based primary health care models.
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