Objective: To assess the extent of segregation between racial and ethnic minority and White patients across primary care physicians and the association of practice panel racial/ethnic composition with the quality of care delivered. Research Design: We examined the degree of racial/ethnic dissimilarity (a measure of segregation) in visits and the allocation of patient visits by different groups across primary care physicians (PCPs). We assessed the regression-adjusted relationship between the racial/ethnic composition of PCP practices and measures of the quality of care delivered. We compared outcomes in the pre-Affordable Care Act (ACA) and post-ACA (2006-2010/2011-2016) periods. Subjects: We analyzed data on all primary care visits to office-based practitioners in the 2006-2016 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey. PCPs were defined as general/family practice or internal medicine physicians. We excluded cases with imputed race or ethnicity information. For the quality of care analyses, we limited the sample to adults. Results: Racial and ethnic minority patients remain concentrated within a small group of PCPs: 35% of PCPs accounted for 80% of non-White patients' visits; 63% of non-White (or White) patients would need to switch physicians to make the distribution of visits across PCPs proportional between the groups. We observed little correlation between the PCPs panel's racial/ethnic composition and quality of care. These patterns did not change substantially over time. Conclusions: PCPs remain segregated, but the racial/ethnic composition of a practice panel is not associated with the quality of health care that individual patients receive in either the pre or post-ACA passage periods.
- guideline-recommended primary care
- primary care physicians
- racial and ethnic segregation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health