Changes in Utilization Patterns in a National Health Service Corps Community

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Utilization patterns in two adjacent rural Utah counties were compared over a span of five years (1971-1976). In one, a three-physician National Health Service Corps site was established during the interval; the other went from one family physician to two during the same period. The Corps site showed an increase in physician utilization while the “control” county utilization remained unchanged. However, despite the increased utilization of physicians in the Corps site, fewer respondents identified a family physician, especially one located within the county. This is consistent with an interpretation that county residents were content to use Corps physicians, but saw them as transitory figures with whom they could form no permanent attachment. A second brief follow-up study a year later suggests that the community had already begun to acknowledge the Corps doctors as their family physicians.

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