Objectives: Ambulatory Care Sensitive Conditions (ACSCs) are those for which hospitalisation is thought to be avoidable with the application of preventive care and early disease management, usually delivered in the ambulatory setting. This study presents detailed analyses of ACSCs as a measure of health outcome that might vary with access to primary health care in rural and urban regions of Victoria.
Method: The Victorian Admitted Episodes Dataset (VAED), and data from the Health Insurance Commission, Medical Labour Force Annual Survey, socio-economic indexes for areas, and accessibility/remoteness index of Australia were merged to identify individual and aggregate level predictors of urban/rural differentials of ACSCs. Estimates of odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals were based on random effect multi-level generalised linear models.
Results: After adjustment for age, sex, and severity of illness, significant predictors of higher admission rates of ACSCs within rural areas include lack of insurance, emergency admissions, higher degree of remoteness, lower population density, lower number of general practitioners/10,000 population by local government area (LGA), lower number of general practitioner visits per person by LGA, and areas with lower socio-economic status, education and occupation, and economic resources.
Conclusions: This study suggests that lack of timely and effective care may have a significant impact on rates of admissions for ACSCs in rural areas of Victoria especially in lower socio-economic groups.