Report: Low-Income California Residents Less Satisfied With Care
Low-income California residents tend to be less satisfied with the quality of their health care than those with higher incomes, according to a report by the Blue Shield of California Foundation, Kaiser Health News' "Capsules" reports.
Details of the Report
The survey included 1,500 California residents and found that:
- About 50% of residents whose incomes were less than 200% of the federal poverty level rated the quality of their health care as "excellent" or "very good;" and
- Nearly 70% of residents with incomes above 200% of the poverty line rated the quality of their health care as "excellent" or "very good" (Hernandez, "Capsules," Kaiser Health News, 1/8).
According to the report, a large portion of low-income residents received their health care from community clinics and emergency departments and typically saw a different physician each visit. As a result, individuals with lower incomes reported being:
- Less connected to the treatment facilities they accessed and physicians they saw; and
- Less involved in their personal health care decisions.
For instance, 38% of low-income individuals said that someone at their health care facility knows them, compared with 52% of higher income individuals.
In addition, the report found that when compared with higher-income residents, low-income individuals were:
- 48 percentage points less likely to be covered by private health insurance;
- 26 percentage points more likely to have health coverage through government programs; and
- 20 percentage points more likely to be uninsured (Blue Shield of California Foundation report, November 2013).
The report recommended that health systems serving low-income individuals should focus on:
- Communicating more effectively with patients; and
- Improving patient satisfaction.
According to the report, doing so could lead to more efficient, less costly outcomes.
Peter Long -- president and CEO of the Blue Shield of California Foundation -- said, "It comes down to customer service," adding, "Instead of worrying about problems that could take years to fix, let's start working today on communication, information and trust" ("Capsules," Kaiser Health News, 1/8).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.