A comparison of the Family Health Strategy to other sources of healthcare: utilization and quality of health services in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais State, Brazil

Lima-Costa, M.F., M.A. Turci, and J. Macinko
Cadernos de Saude Publica, Vol. 29, no. 7. 10.1590/S0102-311X2013000700011

Indicators of healthcare utilization and quality were compared in a probabilistic sample of adults (N = 7,534) covered by private health plans, the Family Health Strategy (FHS), and "traditional" primary care clinics (UBS) in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais State, Brazil. After adjusting for demographics, health conditions, and socioeconomic status, indicators of healthcare utilization (longitudinality, health-seeking, and medical consultations) showed better performance among users of the FHS and private health plans compared to those covered by the UBS. Hospitalizations, preventive tests, and flu vaccinations varied little between sources of care. Quality indicators (difficulty in making an appointment, waiting lines, complaints about obtaining medications, and receiving an appointment within 24 hours) were better among private health plans. Recommending one's healthcare providers to others was more frequent among FHS users (61.9%) and those with private health plans (55.6%), compared to those served by UBS (45.4%).