Study: Fewer Medicare patients seeing primary care doctor in hospital

Fewer Medicare patients are seeing a familiar primary care or outpatient physician while they’re hospitalized, according to a study published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association.


According to the study, in 2006 40% of hospitalized patients were seen by at least 1 physician that they had visited in an outpatient setting in the prior year, and 32% of patients with an identifiable PCP were seen by that physician while hospitalized. That is down from 50% and 44%, respectively, in 1996. Greater absolute decreases in continuity with any outpatient physician between 1996 and 2006 occurred in patients admitted on weekends, those living in large metropolitan areas, and in New England. Increasing involvement of hospitalists was associated with approximately one-third of the decrease in continuity of care between 1996 and 2006. The findings are based on enrollment and claims data for a national sample of Medicare beneficiaries over age 66.


(SOURCE: AHA News Now,, April 22, 2009)