Predicting Health Services Utilization Among Homeless Adults

A Prospective Analysis

Published in: Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, v. 11, no. 2, May 2000, p. 212-30

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2000

by Judith Stein, Ronald Andersen, Paul Koegel, Lillian Gelberg

This study expands on the Andersen-Newman health services utilization (HSU) model. In a community-based homeless sample (n = 363) baseline predisposing, enabling, and needs-based variables predicted hospitalization and ambulatory outpatient service utilization within 1 year after baseline. Standard predisposing and enabling variables were supplemented with latent constructs representing substance use, mental illness, poor housing status, social support, community support, and barriers to health care. Need is represented by baseline health status. Poor physical health, more barriers, drug use, African American ethnicity, less community support, and less education predicted hospitalization, the least desirable form of HSU. Poor health, female gender, a regular source of care, community support, drug use, and fewer alcohol problems predicted an office visit. Because outpatient visits for acute conditions provide an opportunity for generally neglected preventive services and health screenings, this study suggests convenient multiservice health-related programs for the homeless that include drug and alcohol treatment.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation external publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.