Poor Self-rated Mental Health and Medicare Beneficiaries' Routine Care-Seeking

Published in: The American Journal of Managed Care, Volume 28, Issue 11, pages 294–299 (November 2022). doi: 10.37765/ajmc.2022.89266

Posted on RAND.org on November 08, 2022

by Steven C. Martino, Ron D. Hays, Katrin Hambarsoomian, Amelia Haviland, Robert Weech-Maldonado, Joshua Breslau, Nathan Orr, Sarah J. Gaillot, Marc N. Elliott

Objectives

To assess the relationship between self-rated mental health (SRMH) and infrequent routine care among Medicare beneficiaries and to investigate the roles of managed care and having a personal doctor.

Study Design

Cross-sectional analysis of data from the 2018 Medicare Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems survey.

Methods

Logistic regression was used to predict infrequent routine care (having not made an appointment for routine care in the last 6 months) from SRMH, Medicare coverage type (fee-for-service [FFS] vs Medicare Advantage [MA], the managed care version of Medicare), and the interaction of these variables. Models that did and did not include having a personal doctor were compared. All models controlled for demographics and physical health.

Results

Overall, 14.9% of beneficiaries did not make a routine care appointment in the last 6 months, with rates adjusted for demographics and physical health ranging from 14.5% for those with "excellent" SRMH to 19.2% for those with "poor" SRMH. Beneficiaries with poor SRMH were less likely to make a routine care appointment in FFS than in MA (20.1% vs 16.4%, respectively, had not done so in the last 6 months; P < .05). Accounting for having a personal doctor reduced the association between SRMH and infrequent routine care by about a third.

Conclusions

Extra efforts are needed to ensure receipt of routine care by beneficiaries with poor mental health—particularly in FFS, where more should be done to ensure that beneficiaries have a personal doctor.

Research conducted by

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