Background: Ambulatory care-sensitive conditions, including asthma, can be managed with timely and effective outpatient care, thereby reducing the need for hospitalization. Objective: This study assessed the relationship between market competition, continuity of care (COC), and hospital admissions in asthmatic children according to their health care provider. Methods: A longitudinal design was employed with a 5-year follow-up period, between 2009 and 2013, under a Korean universal health insurance program. A total of 253 geographical regions were included in the analysis, according to data from the Korean Statistical Office. Data from 9,997 patients, aged ≤ 12 years, were included. We measured the COC over a 5-year period using the Usual Provider Continuity (UPC) index. Random intercept models were calculated to assess the temporal and multilevel relationship between market competition, COC, and hospital admission rate. Results: Of the 9,997 patients, 243 (2.4%) were admitted to the hospital in 2009. In the multilevel regression analysis, as the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index increased by 1,000 points (denoting decreased competitiveness), UPC scores also increased (β = 0.001; p < 0.0001). In multilevel logistic regression analysis, the adjusted odds ratio (OR) for hospital admissions for individuals with lower COC scores (≥ 2 ambulatory visits and a UPC index score of < 1) was 3.61 (95% CI: 2.98-4.38) relative to the reference group (≥ 2 ambulatory visits and a UPC index score of 1). Conclusions: Market competition appears to reduce COC; decreased COC was associated with a higher OR for hospital admissions.
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© 2016 Cho et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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