Little is known about the differences between patients who visit for-profit and not-for-profit primacy care clinics in New Zealand. As they did in other countries, not-for-profit clinics in New Zealand arose in response to demands for affordable care for diverse populations. Community governance seeks to ensure they are controlled by and responsive to the needs of their constituents.
What the Study Found
Commonwealth Fund–supported researchers found that community-governed not-for-profit practices served a younger, largely non-European population, compared with patients visiting for-profit practices. Nearly three-quarters of the not-for-profit clinic patients had a means-tested benefit card, 10.5 percent were not fluent in English, and the majority lived in areas ranked as most deprived. Compared with patients in for-profit practices, patients in not-for-profit practices were diagnosed with more problems and had longer visits, but they had no greater number of laboratory tests and lower odds of being referred to a specialist.
This study underscores for policymakers, communities, and health care payers the important role that community-governed not-for-profit practices play in meeting the needs of low-income and minority populations.