Does "Mainstreaming" guarantee access to care for medicaid recipients with asthma?

Yali A. Bair, Jorge A Garcia, Patrick S Romano, Allan D. Siefkin, Richard L Kravitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: Recent reforms in the federal Medicaid program have attempted to integrate beneficiaries into the mainstream by providing them with managed care options. However, the effects of mainstreaming have not been systematically evaluated. DESIGN: Cross-sectional survey. SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: A sample of 478 adult, nonelderly asthmatics followed by a large Northern California medical group. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: We examined differences in self-reported access by insurance status. Compared to patients with other forms of insurance, patients covered by the state's Medicaid program (Medi-Cal) were more likely to report access problems for asthma-related care, including difficulties in reaching a health care provider by telephone, obtaining a clinic appointment, and obtaining asthma medication. Adjusting for relevant clinical and sociodemographic variables, Medi-Cal patients were more likely to report at least one access problem compared to non Medi-Cal patients (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 3.34; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.43 to 7.80). Patients reporting at least one access problem were also more likely to have made at least one asthma-related emergency department visit within the past year (AOR, 4.84; 95% CI, 2.41 to 9.72). Reported barriers to care did not translate into reduced patient satisfaction. CONCLUSIONS: Within this population of Medicaid patients, the provision of health insurance and care within the mainstream of an integrated health system was no guarantee of equal access as perceived by the patients themselves.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)475-481
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of General Internal Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2001


  • Access to care
  • Asthma
  • Medicaid
  • Medicare
  • Primary care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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