Continuity of care and delivery of ambulatory services to children in community health clinics

J Community Health. 1996 Jun;21(3):159-73. doi: 10.1007/BF01557996.


This study assesses how continuity of care influences receipt of preventive care and overall levels of ambulatory care among children and adolescents in community health clinics (CHCs). It is a secondary data analysis of the 1988 Child Health Supplement to the National Health Interview Survey. Of 17,110 children in the sample population, the 1465 who identified CHCs as their routine source of care formed the study population. Continuity of site was defined as identification of a CHC as a source of both routine and sick care, and continuity with a clinician was defined as identification of a specific clinician for sick visits. In bivariate analyses both continuity with the CHC and with a specific clinician were associated with increased levels of preventive care and overall ambulatory care. In logistic regression models, continuity of care was associated with nearly a two-fold increase in the odds of receiving age-appropriate preventive care. Alternatively, insurance status was a better predictor of receipt of overall levels of ambulatory care. We conclude that expanding financial access alone is unlikely to sufficiently improve low-income children's access to Community Health Clinics. Additional emphasis on localizing the delivery of both routine and sick care services in a single site or with a specific clinician may be needed to achieve higher levels of both preventive care and overall ambulatory care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Ambulatory Care / trends*
  • Child
  • Child Health Services / trends*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Community Health Centers / trends*
  • Continuity of Patient Care / trends*
  • Delivery of Health Care / trends*
  • Female
  • Forecasting
  • Health Services Needs and Demand / trends
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Patient Care Team / trends
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • United States