Erie Vital Signs

Availability and Utilization of Healthcare Services: No Personal Health Care Provider

Recent Performance

This trend is negative or needs improvement.

In Erie County, the rate of adults who do not have a personal health care provider has increased in recent years but still remains lower than the rate across Pennsylvania. The most recent data show a slowly increasing trend, with the rate remaining higher than in 2001, when only 9 percent of adults in Erie County did not have a personal health care provider.

For 2013*, 12 percent of adults in Erie County did not have anyone they considered to be their doctor. In Pennsylvania this rate was 13 percent and in the United States it was 23 percent. Despite an increase from 2011, Erie County rates remain lower than those for the state and the nation.

Since 2001, the health status of adults in Erie County has fluctuated from a low of 9 percent in 2001 to a high of 12 percent in 2013. With the exception of 2007, Erie County rates have been consistently lower than those for Pennsylvania.

Those most likely not to have a personal health care provider include Erie County residents who earn less than $25,000 a year, 18-to-44 year olds, and males.

*2013 indicates data for the period 2011-13.

The Basics

This indicator reports the percentage of Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) Survey respondents who answered “no” to the survey question: Do you have one person you think of as your personal doctor or health care provider?

Why It's Important

Studies suggest that having a personal doctor or health care provider is an important aspect of preventive health care. It allows the patient to have an ongoing relationship with a personal physician who, in turn, will be better able to provide for the patient’s health care needs.

The Details

The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS) is a telephone based health survey of adults age 18 and above. Both landline and cell phone users are included. Initiated in 1984 by the CDC, it is now administered nationally, statewide, regionally, and locally. The survey focuses on health care access, health conditions, risk behaviors, and preventive health practices. Standardized questions allow comparison among various population groups. For 2013, Erie County used 3-Year Sum County Level data, for years 2011-2013, which was provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Similar 3-Year Sum data for Pennsylvania was used for comparison.

The Nitty-Gritty Details


This EVS indicator has no subcategories. The raw data for Erie County do provide data for subcategories based on sex, age, education, income, and race.

Peer Areas

The BRFSS data are available for Erie, the state of Pennsylvania, and the United States. Data is also available for the following thirteen of the standard peer selected metropolitan/micropolitan statistical areas (MMSAs): Akron OH, Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton PA-NJ, Boulder CO, Cedar Rapids IA, Flint MI, Gainesville FL, Green Bay WI, Kalamazoo-Portage MI, Lansing-East Lansing MI, Laredo TX, Peoria IL, Roanoke VA, and Spartanburg SC.


Erie County completes a BRFSS every four to five years. The survey is administered every year at the state and national level.


Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey, administered by the Erie County Department of Health following guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pennsylvania Department of Health 3-Year Sum County Level data. Links to the data are given above under “All the Nitty-Gritty Details”.

Other Related Data

Additional Studies and Research

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