The Ohio Farm Family Health and Hazard Surveillance Program: Health Care Utilization

  • Bean, Thomas;
  • Crawford, John M.;
  • Mitchell, Gladys Lynn;
  • Wilkins III, J.R.;
  • Jones, Lawrence A.

Health care utilization is currently a topic of much discussion. Using data obtained from the Ohio Farm Family Health and Hazard Surveillance Program, self-reported aspects of health care utilization for cash grain farmers will be described.

Eighty-nine percent of the farmers who answered the question indicated that they had a particular health care source, which was greater than the 81% reported for the U.S. population in 1987. Of those with a particular source, 91.4% indicated using a medical doctor's office or private clinic. The use of a chiropractor or naturopath as a source was reported by 8% of the farmers. Only 5% responded that a hospital emergency room was a possible medical care source. No other source of health care services was utilized by more than 5% of the farmers. This pattern of use appears to be different from that reported for the U.S. for the year 1987.

Utilization was stratified by farm size, education, presence/absence of children, and income. Farm size was not found to be related to whether a particular source of health care was used, and though not statistically significant, there was a decreasing trend in utilization of chiropractic services as farm size increased. Between educational levels there was a significant difference in whether the farmer had a particular health care source. In examining the individual sources of health care, chiropractic care was used more often by those with no more than a high school education. Differences were not seen for any of the other types of services.

When the data were examined by whether the Principal Operator had children or not, there was a significant difference between the two groups, with families having children being more likely to have a particular source of health care, though there were no differences between specific sources of care. Among the five income levels, there were no significant differences, overall, by whether or not a particular health care source was used, or by individual source.

Though there is evidence suggesting a lack of medical care access for the rural population, it appears that among this farming population the majority have access and utilize medical care services.

This research abstract was extracted from a portion of the proceedings of "Agricultural Safety and Health: Detection, Prevention and Intervention," a conference presented by the Ohio State University and the Ohio Department of Health, sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control/National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

The authors noted above are from: All at The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH.

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