Researchers often use averages to describe data. The average (or the mean) of a data set can be used to identify the central value of the group, or what is typical. While valuable, it’s also important to understand the range of data—the highs and lows. What might we miss by focusing on the average? When… Read more »
Rural areas have more limited access to health care than urban areas. In 2013, there were 79.3 primary care physicians per 100,000 people in metropolitan counties, compared to only 55.1 per 100,000 people in non-metropolitan counties. To help provide a quick understanding of how many people may have more limited access to primary care and where… Read more »
Since 2005, there have been 124 rural hospital closures in the United States. Rural hospital closures can intensify already challenging health and economic issues for rural communities. People served by rural hospitals tend to be older, poorer, have access to fewer health care professionals, and have overall worse health outcomes than those served by urban hospitals. To… Read more »
In 1983, Congress created the Sole Community Hospital (SCH) program to support small rural hospitals for which “by reason of factors such as isolated location, weather conditions, travel conditions, or absence of other hospitals, is the sole source of inpatient hospital services reasonably available in a geographic area to Medicare beneficiaries.” A SCH is often… Read more »
“Creating a Culture of Health in Appalachia: Disparities and Bright Spots” is an innovative research initiative that aims to identify factors that support a culture of health in Appalachian communities. “Health Disparities in Appalachia” is the first report in a series exploring health issues in Appalachia. It measures population health and documents disparities in health… Read more »
For the last decade-and-a-half, the proportion of patients discharged from the Medicare hospice program prior to death – known as a “live discharge” – has increased across the country with significant hospice-level geographic variations. Despite clear geographic variations in live discharge rates and known rural-urban disparities (e.g., patients of rural hospices have higher satisfaction), previous… Read more »
Through its 40-year history, the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) has supported more than 40,000 primary care, mental health and dental health clinicians with scholarships and loan repayment incentives to work in Health Professional Shortage Areas. Retaining these clinicians after they complete their service commitments (which are typically 2-5 years) is key to the NHSC’s… Read more »
Previous research has established both that there is a gap in nationwide urban-rural mortality and that this gap is increasing over time. Existing and ongoing work has found that the urban-rural mortality gap may vary regionally. This brief builds upon previous research and explores the differences in mortality trends between urban and rural locations by… Read more »
The table below shows the number of rural and urban hospitals in the United States as of January 1, 2016. The source of the data is the 2016 Provider of Services file produced by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Hospitals are classified as rural by using the definition provided by the Federal Office… Read more »
Nationally, the opioid epidemic is expanding at a rapid pace. Deaths from opioid overdose quadrupled from 1999 to 2016. North Carolina is experiencing a faster increase in drug overdose deaths than the nation as a whole. However, opioid use does not always manifest in death. One report estimates that there are four inpatient visits and… Read more »
Trends in North Carolina Hospital Use Related to Prescription Opioid and Heroin Poisoning, 2012-2015
The opioid epidemic is expanding rapidly, and North Carolina is experiencing a faster increase in drug overdose deaths than the nation as a whole. A companion brief gave a cross-sectional description of hospital claims data to provide a broader lens to the opioid epidemic in North Carolina. This brief expands that analysis to review trends… Read more »
The provision of post-acute (PAC) and hospice care by rural hospitals allows patients to receive such care locally, avoiding unnecessary travel and staying close to family and friends. Typically, rural residents discharged from an acute care facility receive PAC either locally or in the urban center where acute care was provided. Policy makers are considering… Read more »
In April 2017, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released their fourth Hospital Quality Star Rating list. Since the first release, stakeholders have been publicly debating the star rating scale’s usefulness in comparing hospital quality, but little focus has been given to the large number of rural hospitals with no rating. In the… Read more »
Disparities in health status and access to health care exist between people living in rural areas and those in urban areas. The displays selected indicators of access to health care, health behavior/risk factors, and mortality rates, comparing rural to urban residents.
The North Carolina Rural Health Research Program produces a list of rural and urban U.S. hospitals each year. This list includes 4,768 acute and 1,373 specialty hospitals that were reported open on January 1, 2016.