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Community Health Data Base
An Information Service of the Philadelphia Health Management Corporation

Many Centre County Adults Face Signifiant Challenges Accessing Health Care
Monday. May 17, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                        

May 17, 2010                                                                                      

Contact: Kelley Elliott (267.350.7699 or



Many Centre County Adults Face Significant Challenges

Accessing Health Care

Survey Examines Access and Barriers to Health Care in Centre County


PHILADELPHIA— Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC), through its Community Health Data Base (CHDB), released a data brief from the Centre County Household Health Survey that examines major access to care indicators including insurance status, prescription and dental coverage, utilization of a regular source of health care, and access to emergency and specialty care. The survey found that many adults in Centre County face significant challenges accessing health care.


Barriers to timely care faced by Centre County residents include lacking a regular healthcare provider, cost of care and difficulty obtaining appointments with medical specialists. Uninsured individuals, adult students and Centre County residents living below the federal poverty line are at greatest risk of the effects of unmet health care needs and delayed care.


One in ten (10.9% or approximately 10,900) Centre County adults has no regular source of health care. Uninsured adults are less likely to have a regular source of care compared with insured adults, representing nearly one-third (32.5%) of uninsured Centre County adults ages 18-64 without a regular source of health care. Slightly more than one in ten adults in Centre County (11.3%) does not have any public or private health insurance, representing 9,400 uninsured adults across the county.


The most commonly cited reason for lack of insurance was affordability; 34.7% of uninsured Centre County residents indicated that they could not afford health insurance. Not surprisingly, poverty is strongly associated with lack of health insurance. Nearly one in four of those living below the federal poverty level (23.9%) are uninsured, compared with fewer than one in ten of those living above the federal poverty level (9.3%). Other findings include:


  • About one in six Centre County adult students (16.8%) do not have a regular place they go when they are sick or need advice about their health, compared with one in ten adult non-students (10.0%).

·        Nearly one in five (17.5%) Centre County adults find it somewhat or very difficult to obtain an appointment with a medical specialist, such as a cardiologist or dermatologist. 

·        Uninsured adults (36.4%) are slightly more likely to have made an emergency room visit than are insured adults (30.7%). Among uninsured adults ages 18-64 who had been to an emergency room in the previous year, two-thirds (65.5%) reported that they had gone to the ER instead of a regular doctor’s office because they lacked insurance. 

In the summer of 2009, PHMC’s Community Health Data Base conducted the Centre County Household Health Survey among 1,251 households to examine the health status and needs of adults in Centre County, Pennsylvania. The survey included questions regarding health status, utilization of health screenings, health behaviors and access to health care. 


The data brief examines findings of the survey, focusing on critical issues related to access to health care among adults 18 years of age and older residing in the county. The large sample size of the Household Health Survey allows analysis by geographic sub-areas within Centre County, as well as by demographic breakdowns such as age, race, ethnicity, gender, student status and poverty level. The survey provides a unique information resource to Centre County health and social services organizations, policymakers and academic institutions.


Due to the large sample size and local focus of the Centre County survey, the data can be used in a variety of ways, including assessing health status among Centre County communities or demographic groups, for program development and marketing, and for establishing baseline indicators to monitor future progress. To view the Understanding Access and Barriers to Health Care in Centre County data brief, go to: .


For more information about the Community Health Data Base or the Centre County Household Health Survey, go to or contact Francine Axler at or 215.985.2521.



About PHMC

Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) is a nonprofit public health institute that builds healthier communities through partnerships with government, foundations, businesses and other community-based organizations. It fulfills its mission to improve the health of the community by providing outreach, health promotion, education, research, planning, technical assistance and direct services. PHMC has served the Greater Philadelphia region since 1972. For more information on PHMC, visit