Consistently high users of medical care among the elderly

Donald K. Freeborn, Clyde R. Pope, John P. Mullooly, Bentson H. McFarland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


This study identified consistently high and low users of medical care ser-vices in a group of older HMO members continuously enrolled for six years. Consistently high users made up 26% of the sample, but accounted for more than 50% of total outpatient contacts and hospital admissions. Average ambu-latory care costs were more than four times greater for the high users compared with the low users. Consistently high users were older than consistently low users, but did not differ significantly in other sociodemographic characteristics. Compared with the low users, the high users reported more total medical conditions and were more likely to indicate they had arthritis, high blood pressure, heart conditions, and other chronic problems. They perceived themselves to be in poorer health and reported higher levels of psychologic distress. The low users tended to be less satisfied, but the two user groups were not significantly different regarding use of services outside the HMO.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)527-540
Number of pages14
JournalMedical care
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1990


  • Elderly
  • HMO
  • Medical care
  • Utilization patterns

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Consistently high users of medical care among the elderly'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this