Older adults on Medicare who do not have a regular physician may receive lower quality health care, according to a study published in Medical Care.
For this study, researchers at the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, California, analyzed data collected in the 2012 Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems survey, a national representation of Medicare beneficiaries. More than 272,000 seniors were involved in the study.
Respondents were asked whether they had a personal physician – a doctor they would see if they got sick or hurt, for regular checkups, and for advice about health problems. About 4.9 percent – approximately 2 million people – said they did not have a primary care doctor, which was associated with an inability to get needed medical care and prescription medications and other measures of health care, according to researchers.