Research Alert: September 7, 2021

Geographic Access to Health Care for Rural Medicare Beneficiaries: A National Study

This study compared, at a national and Census Division level, total number of visits received, where rural and urban Medicare beneficiaries received care, which types of providers were seen, and how far beneficiaries traveled to obtain care.

In 2014, rural beneficiaries received slightly more total visits than urban beneficiaries. Rural beneficiaries received the majority of their visits (51.7%) from generalist physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants compared to 38.1% among urban beneficiaries. Median one-way travel times for rural residents from isolated small rural areas were particularly long, often exceeding one hour for serious conditions such as cancer and ischemic heart disease.

Contact Information:

Eric Larson, PhD
WWAMI Rural Health Research Center
Phone: 206.616.9601

Additional Resources of Interest: