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Rethinking the Role of the Public Health Clinic: Comparison of Outpatient Utilization in the Public Health Clinics and Private Clinics in Korea

1
Department of Health Policy and Management, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul 03080, Korea
2
Regional Emergency Care Center, Internal Medicine, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul 03080, Korea
3
Department of Nursing Science, Shinsung University, Dangjin 31801, Korea
4
Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul 05505, Korea
5
Department of Preventive Medicine, Chungnam National University College of Medicine, Daejeon 35015, Korea
6
Public Health Medical Service, Boramae Medical Center, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul 07061, Korea
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(7), 1312; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15071312
Received: 23 April 2018 / Revised: 10 June 2018 / Accepted: 20 June 2018 / Published: 22 June 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Current Status of Medical Doctors in Korea)
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PDF [1125 KB, uploaded 22 June 2018]

Abstract

Korea has experienced an overall expansion of access to care in the past few decades, which necessitated the reconsideration of the role of the public health clinics (PHC) as a primary care provider. The recent controversy about the outpatient copayment waiver for the elderly in the PHC is in the same vein. This study compared the outpatient utilization of the PHC and private clinics, and investigated its factors. Data were acquired from the National Patient Sample in 2013. Compared with private clinics, the patients in the PHC were more elderly and had less severe conditions. Being elderly, the status of National Health Insurance (NHI) beneficiaries, less comorbidities, and low total claim costs were found to be factors for choosing the PHC over private clinics. These results suggest that the elderly, who are the main beneficiaries of copayment waivers in the PHC, are the most likely to use the outpatient service by the PHC. The functions of the PHC need to be rearranged according to the recent advancements in the health care system in Korea. Diverting the resources and efforts from outpatient care to functions that best serve the health of the population should be considered. View Full-Text
Keywords: Primary Care; Outpatients; Ownership; Insurance; Coinsurance; Copayment; Public Health Clinic; Korea Primary Care; Outpatients; Ownership; Insurance; Coinsurance; Copayment; Public Health Clinic; Korea
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Kim, A.M.; Cho, S.; Kim, H.J.; Jo, M.-W.; Eun, S.J.; Lee, J.Y. Rethinking the Role of the Public Health Clinic: Comparison of Outpatient Utilization in the Public Health Clinics and Private Clinics in Korea. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 1312.

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