New Research: Low-Income Californians Ready for New Models for Their Health Care

Continuity and connectedness with a provider are key, and the majority is open to teams and technology to improve relationship to care

San Francisco, July 9, 2012 — A new statewide survey of low-income Californians reveals that the poor and near poor are ready for new models of health care. The research gives important clues to safety-net providers who are preparing for a different marketplace under health reform.

According to the study, conducted by Langer Research Associates, low-income Californians place a premium on receiving care from a person or team who knows them well and sees them regularly. They are also open to new alternatives, including the use of team-based care, text messages, and online tools to communicate with their provider.

“The Supreme Court’s recent decision to largely uphold the Affordable Care Act means that millions of low-income Californians will be able choose where they receive primary care,” said Peter Long, Ph.D., president and CEO of Blue Shield of California Foundation. “These findings offer some early insights into the choices they will make and inform their current providers how they must evolve to remain relevant in the new marketplace.”

To read the report, click here.

Key findings of the study, which surveyed Californians below 200 percent of the poverty level, include:

•    Low-income patients broadly report that they want their care to be provided by a doctor, but they are very open-minded to other options, especially a team-care model. Among low-income Californians who do not have team-based care now, 81 percent say they’d be willing to try it. Among those who currently have a care team, a nearly unanimous 94 percent like it.

•    Eighty percent of low-income Californians say it is important to have someone at their place of care “who knows you pretty well,” but only 38 percent say there is such a person there now.

•    Those patients who report having a more personalized healthcare experience are more satisfied with the quality of their care, a prime driver of patient loyalty. They also are more likely to report having the ability and confidence to take a more active role in their health and healthcare decisions, two key aims of patient-centered care.

•    Patients who regularly see the same provider – whether a doctor, nurse or physician’s assistant – rate their care more positively, feel more informed about their health, and take a more active role in care decisions.

•    Fifty-four percent of low-income, non-senior Californians say they would be interested in receiving text messages with health information, and 63 percent would be interested in text messages reminding them about appointments. Similar majorities are interested in the ability to see health records, schedule appointments, and renew prescriptions online. Yet, currently, fewer than 5 percent report using these tools – indicating a largely untapped opportunity.

“The system as a whole can learn from facilities that are giving low-income Californians a more personalized healthcare experience, notably including those using team-based models," explained Gary Langer, founder and president of Langer Research Associates. "Their patients are more satisfied with the care they receive, and most important, they're more confident, better informed and more actively engaged participants in their care.”

About the Survey
Blue Shield of California Foundation’s survey of low-income Californians is based on interviews with a random statewide sample of 1,024 Californians ages 19 to 64 with household incomes less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Langer Research Associates of New York, NY, managed, designed and analyzed the survey and wrote the report. SSRS/Social Science Research Solutions of Media, PA, conducted the sampling, data collection and tabulation. The results have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 points for the full sample.

About Blue Shield of California Foundation
Blue Shield of California Foundation is one of the state’s largest healthcare grantmaking organizations. Visit:

The Foundation was formed by Blue Shield of California, a not-for-profit corporation with more than 3.4 million members, 4,800 employees, and 20 offices throughout California. Visit:

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