Are socio-economically disadvantaged Australians making more or less use of the Enhanced Primary Care Medicare Benefit Schedule item numbers?

David Wilkinson, Heather McElroy, Justin Beilby, Kathy Mott, Kay Price, Sue Morey, John Best

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We aimed to examine the relationship between levels of socio-economic disadvantage (measured by the Socio Economic Indexes for Areas [SEIFA] used by the Australian Bureau of Statistics) and uptake of the Enhanced Primary Care (EPC) item numbers on the Medicare Benefits Schedule. Health services are often less likely to reach those that most need them and so it is important to monitor whether disadvantaged communities are accessing EPC The rates of health assessments, care plans and case conferences are similar in each SEIFA quartile (from advantaged to disadvantaged populations), favouring the more disadvantaged quartiles in some cases. These national trends are not observed in each state and territory. For all EPC services combined, the lowest number of doctors that provide EPC services are found in the 2 most disadvantaged quartiles, yet more EPC services are provided in these quartiles, due to the higher mean and median number of services provided by general practitioners in these quartiles. Overall, populations living in the most disadvantaged quartiles have similar or higher levels of EPC uptake, apparently due, at least in part, to greater than average use of EPC services by general practitioners in these areas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-49
Number of pages7
JournalAustralian health review : a publication of the Australian Hospital Association
Volume26
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2003
Externally publishedYes

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