Thesis Title

A Study of the Health Beliefs and Barriers to Care For the Medicaid Population

Date of Graduation

Spring 1999


Master of Science in Nursing



Committee Chair

Kathryn Hope

Subject Categories



Despite the cost-reducing efforts of managed care, health care expenditures in the United States continue to be burdensome, resulting in services being cut to control costs, thus impacting all health care recipients. The patient population that often utilizes the health care system in a more expensive manner are those with Medicaid coverage. This group often uses urgent care or emergency services, instead of a primary care provider, for routine treatments or neglects health care until conditions have worsened. Researchers have not explored this area from the perspective of those using Medicaid. Therefore, the purpose of the study is to determine the barriers to health care for those using Medicaid. In addition, it is important to understand the health care beliefs of Medicaid recipients. The personal views of those using Medicaid are integral to incorporating this information into practice. The study utilized a qualitative research design so subjects could express thoughts and feelings in their own words. A convenience sample of ten people with Medicaid who presented to a medical center emergency room or urgent care center for non-emergent care was utilized. Data analysis included content analysis, and drawing themes and commonalities from the responses. Common patterns were drawn from the responses that indicated feelings of self-efficacy, perceived benefits from action, and a lack of control over their situation. Areas that prevented the subjects from seeking care in an outpatient setting were lack of availability of providers, difficulty getting appointment times to correspond with the patient's schedule, and lack of readiness for change on the patient's behalf. Areas that encouraged the use of emergency rooms for care were the ease of seeking care there, getting care in a timely manner that fits the patient's schedule, and they were in the habit of using the emergency room.


© Kathryn Herfkens Ampleman