Determinants of Regular Source of Care Among Homeless Adults in Los Angeles

Published in: Medical Care, v. 35, no. 8, Aug. 1997, p. 814-830

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 1997

by Teresa C. Gallagher, Ronald Andersen, Paul Koegel, Lillian Gelberg

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The authors explore the determinants of having a regular source of care in a community-based probability sample of homeless adults in Los Angeles. Results from this study should be more representative than those from previous studies of the homeless that are clinic- or shelter-based. In addition to those factors found to be barriers to regular sources of care in the general population, the authors hypothesized that psychosocial characteristics of the homeless and the homeless lifestyle would negatively impact their likelihood of having a regular source of care. The authors conclude that in a context of limited resources, the distribution of regular source of care among the homeless appears to be highly inequitable. Although some of the characteristics identifying those with a regular source of care suggest differential patterns of behavior across subgroups, others suggest differential advantage in access to care and a lack of fit between the needs of the homeless and the organization of health services.

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