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

Matthew R. Augustine, Karin M. Nelson, Stephan D. Fihn, Edwin S. Wong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: 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. Objective: 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). Design: Retrospective cohort study, using multivariable logistic regression adjusting for patient demographics, comorbidity, characteristics of patients’ area of residence, and clinic-level random effects. Participants: 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. Conclusions: 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1546-1553
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of General Internal Medicine
Issue number8
StatePublished - 15 Aug 2019


  • Health Services Research
  • access to care
  • primary care
  • utilization
  • veterans


Dive into the research topics of 'Patient-Reported Access in the Patient-Centered Medical Home and Avoidable Hospitalizations: an Observational Analysis of the Veterans Health Administration'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this