Audiologist Availability and Access in the United States: A Multi-Scale Spatial and Political Economic Analysis

Authors: Arrianna Marie Planey*, University of Illinois
Topics: Medical and Health Geography
Keywords: audiologists, audiology, health care providers, health care access, spatial access, spatial analysis, health policy
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 5:20 PM / 7:00 PM
Room: Estherwood, Sheraton, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

This paper employs statistical modelling and mapping techniques to analyze the availability and accessibility of audiologists (practitioners who diagnose and treat hearing loss) in the United States at two scales: state and county. At the state level, I estimate negative binomial regression models to assess the relationships between socio-demographic and structural factors (such as health policy and clinical programs which train audiologists) and audiologist availability by state and county. At the county level, I estimate a negative binomial mixed effects model to assess the associations between audiologist availability and state-level structural factors and county-level socio-demographic factors. The state-level model found that household income and the number of clinical audiology (Au.D) programs were significant predictors of audiologist availability, while state-level legislation requiring insurance coverage of audiologist services was not. At the county level, I found that audiologists tended to locate in counties with higher population densities, lower uninsured rates, and younger populations, suggesting that audiologist locations do not match the needs of the population. At both levels, state level legislation requiring insurance plan coverage of hearing aids for adults was not a significant predictor of audiologist supply. At the state level, Medicaid was not a significant predictor of audiologist supply, in contrast with the findings of the mixed effects model of audiologist supply at the county level, which found that Medicaid coverage was negatively associated with audiologist supply.

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