Pediatric Primary Care Visits Declining Since 2008

In a departure from what clinicians have seen in the past, new data from the University of Pittsburg has found pediatric primary care visits have been declining for nearly a decade. The study, led by Kristin Ray, MD, MS, assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, found the amount of pediatric primary care visits for commercially insured patients declined more than 14% between 2008-2016, while preventive care visits increased by 10% during that same period. Within their conclusion, investigators offered multiple possible explanations for the apparent trends revealed by their analyses. Those explanations included replacement of primary care visits with other sites of care, increased out-of-pocket costs creating a disincentive to primary care, rise on other non-financial barriers to primary care, or a decreased need for primary care.

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