The quality of primary care experienced by health center patients

Leiyu Shi, Lydie A. Lebrun-Harris, Sarika Rane Parasuraman, Jinsheng Zhu, Quyen Ngo-Metzger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background: We investigated the quality of the primary care experienced by health center (HC) patients and investigated whether race/ethnicity and insurance coverage were significantly associated with patients' experiences. Methods: Cross-sectional data came from the 2009 Health Center Patient Survey. Outcomes included 10 measures of patients' experiences with primary care domains, including: (1) accessibility, (2) communication, (3) comprehensiveness, and (4) coordination of care. Results: Patients who received care at HCs reported high-quality primary care, particularly regarding accessibility and communication. For example, more than 94% of patients reported that their HC location was convenient, and more than 94% reported that their provider adequately explained what they wanted to know. After adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics, few significant racial/ethnic and insurance-related disparities were observed. In the domains of comprehensiveness and coordination, insured patients generally had better experiences than uninsured patients. For instance, Medicaid-in-sured patients had higher odds of reporting that HC staff helped them arrange medical appointments at other health care settings than uninsured patients (odds ratio, 2.04; 95% confidence interval, 1.35-3.09). Conclusions: As safety-net providers for vulnerable populations, HCs provide high-quality primary care and do not exhibit the extent of disparities that exist in other US health care settings. Continued efforts are necessary to address insurance-related disparities, particularly among uninsured patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)768-777
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American Board of Family Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2013


  • Ethnicity
  • Health care disparities
  • Health insurance
  • Quality of health care
  • Race

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Family Practice


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