Evaluating health-care needs of the poor: a community-oriented approach. Academic Article uri icon


  • Concern has arisen over the provision of health care for the poor. In a project sponsored by a local community hospital, we conducted a telephone survey to determine unmet health-care needs of low-income families living in Orange County, California, and made recommendations to address those needs.The survey assessed demographic characteristics and access to medical care of 652 adults and their families.In general, we found that the poor (incomes below 125% of the poverty level), the uninsured, and the Latino respondents had lower access measures than the nearly poor (incomes between 125% and 200% of the poverty level), insured, and Anglo subjects. However, insurance status was the strongest predictor of access in this low-income population. Important unmet health-care needs included prenatal care and preventive care. In response to our findings, the sponsoring hospital has instituted new health-care programs to help meet these needs.This community-oriented approach for improving problems of access to medical care for the poor may be appropriate for other localities.

publication date

  • January 1, 1989