Development and Application of a Comprehensive Measure of Access to Health Services to Examine COVID-19 Health Disparities.

Healthcare (Basel, Switzerland)(2023)

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Research on access to health services during the COVID-19 pandemic is limited, and the conceptualization of access has not typically included access to community resources. We developed and tested an access-to-health-services measure and examined disparities in access among individuals in the U.S. during the pandemic. Data are from a U.S. sample of 1491 respondents who completed an online survey in August 2021. Linear regression models assessed the relationships between the access-to-health-services-measure components, including impact on access to medicine and medical equipment, impact on access to healthcare visits, and confidence in accessing community resources, and predictor variables, including sociodemographic- and health-related factors. Disparities in access to healthcare during the pandemic were associated with sociodemographic characteristics (i.e., race, gender, and age) and health-related characteristics (i.e., chronic illness, mental health condition, and disability). Factors such as race, gender, income, and age were associated with individuals' degree of confidence in accessing community services. Our study presents a new access-to-health-services measure, sheds light on which populations may be most vulnerable to experiencing reduced access to health services, and informs the development of programmatic interventions to address the salient needs of these populations.
COVID-19 pandemic,access to community resources,access to health services,access to healthcare,health disparities
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