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03.06.2019 | Ausgabe 8/2019

Journal of General Internal Medicine 8/2019

Patient-Reported Access in the Patient-Centered Medical Home and Avoidable Hospitalizations: an Observational Analysis of the Veterans Health Administration

Journal of General Internal Medicine > Ausgabe 8/2019
MD Matthew R. Augustine, MD, MSHS Karin M. Nelson, MD, MPH Stephan D. Fihn, PHD Edwin S. Wong
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s11606-019-05060-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Prior Presentations

This work was presented as poster at the Academy Health’s Annual Research meeting on June 27, 2016, in Boston, MA.
This work was also presented in an VA Health Services Research & Development cyber seminar on December 19, 2018, which can be accessed at https://​www.​hsrd.​research.​va.​gov/​for_​researchers/​cyber_​seminars/​archives/​video_​archive.​cfm?​SessionID=​3572&​Seriesid=​65.

Publisher’s Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.



The Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) has emphasized timely access to primary care, often by using non-traditional modes of delivery, such as care in person after-hours or by phone during or after normal hours. Limited data exists on whether improving patient-reported access with these service types reduces hospitalization.


To examine the association of patient-reported access to primary care within the Veteran Health Administration (VHA) via five service types and hospitalizations for ambulatory care sensitive conditions (ACSCs).


Retrospective cohort study, using multivariable logistic regression adjusting for patient demographics, comorbidity, characteristics of patients’ area of residence, and clinic-level random effects.


A total of 69,710 VHA primary care patients who responded to the 2012 Survey of Healthcare Experiences of Patients (SHEP), PCMH module.

Main Measures

Survey questions captured patients’ ability to obtain care from VHA for five service types: routine care, immediate care, after-hours care, care by phone during regular office hours, and care by phone after normal hours. Outcomes included binary measures of hospitalization for overall, acute, and chronic ACSCs in 2013, identified in VHA administrative data and Medicare fee-for-service claims.

Key Results

Patients who reported “always” able to obtain after-hours care compared to “never” were less likely to be hospitalized for chronic ACSCs (OR 0.62, 95% CI 0.44–0.89, p = 0.009). Patients reporting “usually” getting care by phone during regular hours were more likely have a hospitalization for chronic ACSC (OR 1.49, 95% CI 1.03–2.17, p = 0.034). Experiences with routine care, immediate care, and care by phone after-hours demonstrated no significant association with hospitalization for ACSCs.


Improving patients’ ability to obtain after-hours care was associated with fewer hospitalizations for chronic ACSCs, while access to care by phone during regular hours was associated with more hospitalizations. Health systems should consider the benefits, including reduced hospitalizations for chronic ACSCs, against the costs of implementing each of these PCMH services.

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