Factors influencing health care utilization in older Hispanics with diabetes along the Texas-Mexico border

Nelda Mier, Xiaohui Wang, Matthew Lee Smith, David Irizarry, Laura Treviño, Maria Alen, Marcia G. Ory

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Little is known about predictors of health care utilization for older Hispanics with chronic conditions. This study aimed to determine: (1) the level of health care access for older Hispanics with type 2 diabetes living in a US-Mexico border area; and (2) personal and health correlates to health care utilization (ie, physician visits, eye care, emergency room [ER] use). This was a cross-sectional study based on a community assessment conducted at a clinic, senior centers, and colonias. Colonias are impoverished neighborhoods with substandard living conditions along the US-Mexico border. Hispanics living in colonias are one of the most disadvantaged minority groups in the United States. The study sample consisted of 249 Hispanics age 60 years and older who have type 2 diabetes. Descriptive analyses, multiple linear regression, and generalized linear models were conducted. Older age (P=0.02) and affordability of physician fees (P=0.02) were significant correlates to more frequent physician visits. Factors significantly associated with eye care were being insured (P=0.001) and reporting high cholesterol (P=0.005). ER use was significantly associated with younger age (60-64 years old; P=0.03) and suffering from hypertension (P=0.02). Those who received diabetes education (P=0.04) were less likely to use the ER. Identifying patterns of health care utilization services in aging underserved minorities who are disproportionately affected by diabetes may lead to culturally appropriate preventive practices and timely access to health care. Adequate health care access can decrease or delay the onset of diabetes complications in older Hispanics with type 2 diabetes who live along the US-Mexico border.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-156
Number of pages8
JournalPopulation Health Management
Volume15
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Leadership and Management
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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