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Spatial dynamics of access to primary care for the medicaid population

Abstract

Primary care (PC) has always been underestimated and underinvested by the United States health system. Our goal was to investigate the effect of Medicaid expansion and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provisions on PC access in Broome County, NY, a county that includes both rural and urban areas, and can serve as a benchmark for other regions. We developed a spatial system dynamics model to capture different stages of PC access for the Medicaid population by using the health belief model constructs and simulate the effect of several hypothetical interventions on PC utilisation. The government data portals used as data sources for calibrating our model include the New York State Department of Health, the Medicaid Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) dashboards, and the US census. In our unique approach, we integrated the simulation results within Geographical Information System (GIS) maps, to assess the influence of geospatial factors on PC access. Our results identify hot spot demographic areas that have poor access to PC service facilities due to transportation constraints and a shortage in PC providers. Our decision support tool informs policymakers about programmes with the strongest impact on improving access to care, considering spatial and temporal characteristics of a region.

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