To examine national trends in the percentage of children whose usual source of care is at a clinic, health center, or hospital outpatient department (hereafter “clinics”) and whether trends differ by sociodemographic subpopulations.Study design
Analysis of serial, cross-sectional, nationally representative in-person household surveys, the 1997-2013 National Health Interview Surveys, was conducted to identify children with a usual source of care (n = 190 571), and the percentage receiving that care in a clinic. We used joinpoint regression to identify changes in linear trends, and logistic regression with predictive margins to obtain per-year changes in percentages, both unadjusted and adjusted for sociodemographic factors. Interaction terms in logistic regressions were used to assess whether trends varied by sociodemographic subgroups.Results
Of all children with a usual source of care, the percentage receiving that care in a clinic declined 0.44 percentage points per year (P < .001) from 22.97% in 1997 to 19.31% in 2002. Thereafter, it increased approximately 0.57 percentage points per year (P < .001), reaching 26.1% in 2013. Trends for some sociodemographic subgroups varied from these overall trends. No changes were observed between 2003 and 2013 for non-Hispanic black and Medicaid/State Children's Health Insurance Program insured children.Conclusions
This study shows that, although the percentage of children with a usual source of care in a clinic declined between 1997 and 2002, it has steadily increased since that time.