Management of Hypertension in Primary Care Safety-Net Clinics in the United States: A Comparison of Community Health Centers and Private Physicians' Offices

Valy Fontil, Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, Oanh Kieu Nguyen, David Guzman, Lauren Elizabeth Goldman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


Objective: To examine adherence to guideline-concordant hypertension treatment practices at community health centers (CHCs) compared with private physicians' offices. Data Sources/Study Setting: National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey from 2006 to 2010. Study Design: We examined four guideline-concordant treatment practices: initiation of a new medication for uncontrolled hypertension, use of fixed-dose combination drugs for patients on multiple antihypertensive medications, use of thiazide diuretics among patients with uncontrolled hypertension on ≥3 antihypertensive medications, and use of aldosterone antagonist for resistant hypertension, comparing use at CHC with private physicians' offices overall and by payer group. Data Collection/Extraction Methods: We identified visits of nonpregnant adults with hypertension at CHCs and private physicians' offices. Principal Findings: Medicaid patients at CHCs were as likely as privately insured individuals to receive a new medication for uncontrolled hypertension (AOR 1.0, 95 percent CI: 0.6-1.9), whereas Medicaid patients at private physicians' offices were less likely to receive a new medication (AOR 0.3, 95 percent CI: 0.1-0.6). Use of fixed-dose combination drugs was lower at CHCs (AOR 0.6, 95 percent CI: 0.4-0.9). Thiazide use for patients was similar in both settings (AOR 0.8, 95 percent CI: 0.4-1.7). Use of aldosterone antagonists was too rare (2.1 percent at CHCs and 1.5 percent at private clinics) to allow for statistically reliable comparisons. Conclusions: Increasing physician use of fixed-dose combination drugs may be particularly helpful in improving hypertension control at CHCs where there are higher rates of uncontrolled hypertension.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalHealth Services Research
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2016



  • Clinical inertia
  • Community health centers
  • Fixed-dose combination
  • Hypertension
  • Single-pill combination
  • Treatment intensification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy

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