Patient-Perceived Access to Care When Actively Seeking Treatment

Zachary Pruitt

Susan Sportsman

healthcare access, Medicaid, uninsured, financing, barriers to care
ONF 2017, 44(3), 320-328. DOI: 10.1188/17.ONF.320-328

Purpose/Objectives: To examine predictors of perceived access to care and reported barriers to care of patients with cancer actively seeking treatment.

Design: Retrospective secondary data analysis.

Setting: U.S. Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, a national survey with questions about healthcare coverage and access.

Sample: 1,170 adults with cancer actively seeking treatment.

Methods: A retrospective analysis of data. Bivariate tests for significant association between individual characteristics and low perceived access to care were conducted using a chi-square test.

Main Research Variables: The dependent variable was perceived access to care. The independent variables included sex, age, race, poverty status, education level, marital status, cancer site, comorbidities, and insurance status.

Findings: Those with Medicaid insurance or no health insurance had significantly lower perceived access to care compared to those with Medicare. Institutional barriers to treatment, such as financial or insurance, were the most common reported barriers.

Conclusions: Most adults with cancer reported adequate access to medical care and medications, but a small yet vulnerable population expressed difficulties in accessing treatment.

Implications for Nursing: To effectively advocate for vulnerable populations with Medicaid or no insurance, nurses may require specialized knowledge beyond the scope of general oncology nursing.

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