Access to Health Care

  • Beth E. Quill
Reference work entry

Access to health care has dominated the health policy scene for several decades. In the early 1990s, national legislation, “universal access” to health care, was introduced by President Clinton and the Congress as a way to provide health security for all Americans. Lively debates were generated and the topic commanded national attention. The effort, although unsuccessful, has kept the problem of health care access on the public agenda. Access to care generally refers to the timely use of personal health services to achieve the best possible outcomes. Initially, the premise was access to physicians and hospitals. More recently, health care access has included a variety of providers, services, and facilities. In addition, access describes the actual use of health services and factors that facilitate or impede health care.

Aday (2001) and Anderson (see Anderson et al., (1996) describe six types of access: Potential accessrefers to health care system characteristics that influence the...


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Suggested Reading

  1. 1.
    Aday, L. A. (2001). At risk in America: The health of vulnerable population in the United States. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Anderson, R. M., Rice, T. M., & Kominski, G. F. (Eds.). (1996). Changing the U.S. health care system. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Institute of Medicine. (2002). Unequal treatment: Confronting racial and ethnic disparities in health. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Millman, M. (Ed.). (1993). Access to health care in America. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Beth E. Quill

There are no affiliations available