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    Community-Based Health Care Navigation’s Impact on Access to Primary Care for Low-Income Latinos

    Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine

    Year: 2022

    Introduction: Despite the Affordable Care Act’s insurance expansion, low-income Latinos are less likely to have a primary care provider compared with other racial/ethnic and income groups. We examined if community-based health care navigation could improve access to primary care in this population.

    Methods: We surveyed adult clients of a community-based navigation program serving predominantly low-income Latinos throughout Los Angeles County in 2019. We used multivariable logistic regression models, adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics, to calculate odds ratios for differences in access to primary care and barriers to care between clients who had experienced approximately 1 year of navigation services (intervention group) and clients who were just introduced to navigation (comparison group).

    Results: Clients in the intervention group were more likely to report having a primary care clinic than the comparison group (Adjusted Odds Ratio [aOR] 3.0, 95%CI: 1.7, 5.4). The intervention group was also significantly less likely to experience several barriers to care, such as not having insurance, not being able to pay for a visit, and not having transportation.

    Conclusions: Community-based navigation has the potential to reduce barriers and improve access to primary care for low-income Latinos. In addition to expanding insurance coverage, policymakers should invest in health care navigation to reduce disparities in primary care.

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