Objective The purpose of this study is to assess the Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) designation of the Venice Family Clinic Medical Service Study Area (MSSA) 78.2z, a state-defined 14.8 square mile region composed of Santa Monica South, Mar Vista, Ocean Park, and Culver City, with a population of 78,796. It is proposed that there is an overall lack of primary care resources for the area's impoverished residents.
Background The west side of Los Angeles is home to over 58,000 low-income uninsured men, women and children. Venice Family Clinic offers primary care to over 19,000 patients; 77% are uninsured, and 3,400 are homeless.
Methods A cross-sectional study of physicians in MSSA 78.2z, and contiguous areas, was employed to quantify the number of physicians serving the low-income population. All primary care providers in 78.2z, and surrounding regions, were identified and mailed surveys, regarding hours of direct patient contact with low-income clients. Doctors who failed to return surveys are being phoned. Statistical information regarding the demographics of MSSA 78.2z was obtained from the US Census Bureau.
Results The sample size was 439, with 23 physicians practicing in 78.2z. In 78.2z, the prevalence of primary care physicians treating poor patients is low, with an equivalent of only 2.0 doctors. The population provider ratio is 14,585:1. The study is in progress, with 43% of surveys completed.
Conclusion There are inadequate primary care resources available for the low-income population of 78.2z, and extreme barriers to care exist in contiguous areas. According to these preliminary data, MSSA 78.2z meets most criteria for HPSA designation by the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD).
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