The Primary Care Service Area (PCSA) Project offers the first national database of primary care resources and utilization for small areas. At the heart of the data are 6,542 areas defined by aggregating ZIP areas to reflect Medicare patient travel to primary care providers. The database includes information about pertinent health care resources, population descriptors, health care need measures, and Medicare utilization statistics. PCSA data are updated frequently and are free and publicly available. Geographic shape files are also available for desktop cartography.
PCSAs include a ZIP area with one or more primary care providers and any contiguous ZIP areas whose Medicare populations seek the plurality of their primary care from those providers. Unique features of PCSAs include: service areas that encompass actual patterns of local primary care use; links between each PCSA and primary care resources, population characteristics and Medicare primary care utilization; and capacity for each PCSA to be cast into a larger framework of political, sociological and economic characteristics.
PCSAs were defined using 1999 Medicare claims data, 2000 Census data, and ZIP Code Tabulation Areas (ZCTAs), which are generalized area representations of ZIP Code service areas developed by the US Census Bureau.
For questions, email PCSA@dartmouth.edu or call Julie Doherty at (603) 653-0815.
The PCSA Project was funded by a contract from the Health Resources and Services Administration.
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