Health services utilization by the immigrant and native-born populations in the autonomous region of Murcia (Spain)

Journal ar
Gaceta Sanitaria
  • Volumen: 23
  • Número: SUPPL. 1
  • Fecha: 01 diciembre 2009
  • Páginas: 12-18
  • ISSN: 02139111 15781283
  • Tipo de fuente: Revista
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.gaceta.2009.04.007
  • Tipo de documento: Artículo
Objective: To analyze the patterns of utilisation for three types of public health services (outpatient specialist visits, emergency visits and hospitalisations) in the Comunidad Autónoma de la Región de Murcia. We examine the differences between the average rates of utilization of these services among natives and non-Spanish immigrants, and whether these differences are due to differences in demographic structure, or to different behaviour between these groups. Methods: We use econometric models for utilisation to exploit administrative records on health care utilisation and the well established Oaxaca decomposition method. This splits average rates of utilisation and/or average health expenditure into two components: the first one stands for the part of the difference that can be attributed to differential patterns of behaviour among the two groups; the second one represents the part of the difference in average expenditure that can be attributed to the fact that average demographic characteristics among both groups differ. Results: The rates of use of outpatient specialist visits, emergencies and hospital nights by the native population are greater than the corresponding rates for the immigrant population. For individuals aged between 20 to 40 years old, the utilisation rates of African and Latin-American females are higher than those for native females. The average health expenditure of native males is greater than that of immigrants. The difference is mainly due to different demographic features among the native and immigrant populations, except for the «rest of Europe» group, whose individuals show a different behaviour. In fact, among the 20 to 40 age group, the average health expenditure of native females equals that of Latin-American women, which is in turn below that of African females. Conclusions: In this paper we show that the remarkable differences in the age-gender balance among different (in terms of nationality) groups of insured residents in Murcia has a considerable effect on consumption of health services and therefore on the average health care expenditure attributable to these groups. © 2009 SESPAS.

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