Time Since Immigration and Health Services Utilization of Korean-American Older Adults Living in Los Angeles County

Authors

  • Linda Sohn MD, MPH,

    1. From the *Special Fellowship Program in Advanced GeriatricsGeriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center, Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, Los Angeles, CaliforniaSchool of Medicine and Public Health, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California.
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  • Nancy D. Harada PhD

    1. From the *Special Fellowship Program in Advanced GeriatricsGeriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center, Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, Los Angeles, CaliforniaSchool of Medicine and Public Health, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California.
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Linda Sohn, MD, MPH, VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, 11G, 11301 Wilshire Blvd., Building 220 Room 334, Los Angeles, California 90073. E-mail: Linda.sohn@med.va.gov

Abstract

The aim of this study was to characterize ambulatory healthcare utilization of older Korean Americans and its association with length of time since immigration. It was hypothesized that older Korean Americans who were recent immigrants would use outpatient physician visits less often than early immigrants. The data are from the 2000 Korean-American Health Survey, which assessed the health status and medical needs of Korean Americans living in Los Angeles County. The dependent variable was the number of visits to a physician for check-up or consultation. Multivariate regression modeling was used to assess the influence of length of time since immigration on the dependent variable controlling for predisposing, enabling, and need variables for a sample of 208 Koreans Americans aged 65 and older. Results indicated that high school education in Korea and health insurance status were significant predictors of number of visits to a physician during the previous year (P<.05). The main variable of interest, the number of years living in the United States, approached significance at P=.09. It was concluded that enabling variables such as education and health insurance significantly influenced use of healthcare services in the older Korean-American population. The lack of studies regarding older minority populations and their access to healthcare further highlight theneed not only to characterize the access of these often-vulnerable populations, but also to generate interest for further studies.

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