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HIV-POSITIVE INDIVIDUALS MAY HAVE TROUBLE LOCATING PRIMARY CARE, ACCORDING TO SURVEY OF PHILADELPHIA PHYSICIANS

 PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Nearly 50 percent of the primary care physicians in Philadelphia have at least one HIV-positive patient, with an average of 6.7 patients per physician, according to findings from a survey of 618 primary care physicians conducted last fall by the Philadelphia Health Management Corporation (PHMC).
 But due to insurance acceptance and scheduling issues, many individuals with HIV may have trouble locating care.
 "We believe that Medicaid participation is an important indicator of access to care for those with HIV, since many become eligible for medical assistance after health insurance benefits and personal savings have been exhausted due to the expense of treating the disease," said Lisa Roth, a research associate at PHMC.
 Slightly more than one-third (38.3 percent) of primary care physicians with at least one HIV-positive patient accept all Medicaid patients, which is similar to the proportion of primary care physicians overall (32.6 percent) who accept all patients with Medicaid. Anecdotal evidence, however, indicates that although physicians may generally accept those with Medicaid, they are often not able to accept new patients or limit the hours to which these patients can be seen.
 "Individuals who test positive for HIV may face additional barriers to care because patients need to find a primary care physician to coordinate their care who not only accepts Medicaid, but is also knowledgeable in this relatively new and rapidly changing field," said Roth.
 Physicians were asked whether they felt that they needed more information on the care and treatment of individuals with HIV disease. Nearly one-half (45.3 percent) of physicians with at least one HIV- positive patient and a similar percentage of physicians overall (43.9 percent) felt that additional information would be beneficial.
 "The advent of the AIDS epidemic in the country occurred after over 80 percent of Philadelphia's primary care physicians graduated from medical school, so providing continuing education about the treatment of AIDS is critical," stated Roth.
 Primary care physicians surveyed include general and family practitioners, internists, pediatricians, obstetricians, gynecologists, cardiologists and rheumatologists. The survey was unique in that it collected information about the neighborhood in which each physician practices; and for the first time, collected data on the extent to which primary care physicians treat HIV-positive individuals.
 Complete findings will be made available this spring in a new report entitled "Philadelphia's Primary Care Physicians: Patients and Practices." The report is the second report released by PHMC on Philadelphia primary care physicians as part of its Neighborhood Oriented Health Care Data Base which is funded primarily by The Pew Charitable Trusts and the United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania.
 PHMC is a non-profit public health organization that conducts research and evaluates programs, provides management and technical assistance services for others in the health care system and provides specialized direct services in the community.
 /delval/
 -0- 2/23/93
 /CONTACT: Lisa Roth, J.D., M.S.S., 215-985-2576, or Jody Kafrissen, M.S., 215-985-2572, both of PHMC/


CO: Philadelphia Health Management Corporation ST: Pennsylvania IN: HEA SU:

MK-MJ -- PH002 -- 9236 02/23/93 08:11 EST
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Date:Feb 23, 1993
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