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Elderly hospitalization and the New-type Rural Cooperative Medical Scheme (NCMS) in China: multi-stage cross-sectional surveys of Jiangxi province
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Studies assessing the impacts of China's New-type Rural Cooperative Medical Scheme (NCMS) reform of 2003 among rural elderly have been limited. Method: Multistage stratified cluster sampling household surveys of 1838, 1924, 1879, 1888, 1890 and 1896 households from 27 villages in Jiangxi province were conducted in 2003/2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014. Data from older adults age 65 and above were analyzed. Weighted logistic regression was applied to find factors of elderly hospitalization services. Results: Since 2003, hospitalization rates for elderly increased, while rates of patients leaving against medical advice and patients avoiding the hospital decreased (P < 0.05). Factors associated with a higher likelihood of reporting hospitalization in the past year for elderly were the per-capita financial level V in 2012 for NCMS (Adjusted Odds Ratios [aOR]: 2.295), the level VI in 2014 (aOR: 3.045) versus the level I in 2003 and chronic disease (aOR: 2.089) versus not having a chronic disease. Lower rate of elderly left against medical advice was associated with the financial level V in 2012 (aOR: 0.099) versus the level I. The higher rate of hospital avoidance was associated with chronic disease status (aOR: 5.759) versus not having a chronic disease, while the lower rate was associated with the financial level VI in 2014 (aOR: 0.143) versus the level I. Among reporting reasons for elderly hospital avoidance, the cost-related reasons just dropped slightly over the years. Conclusions: NCMS improved access to health services for older adults. The utilization of hospitalization services for rural elderly increased gradually, but cost-related barriers remained the primary reporting barrier to accessing hospitalization services.