Research Alert: September 15, 2022

Availability of Emergency Department, Nursing Home, and Substance Use Disorder Services in Minoritized Racial/Ethnic Group Areas

This series of briefs documents disparities in geographic access to health services for ZIP code tabulation areas (ZCTAs) containing a high proportion of minoritized racial/ethnic group (MRG) residents.

Availability of Hospital-Based Emergency Department and Trauma Services in Minoritized Racial/Ethnic Group Areas

  • The median distance to the nearest emergency department in rural ZCTAs with a top proportion of minoritized groups was 16.2 miles compared to 3.9 miles for urban ZCTAs of the same classification. Similarly, rural MRG ZCTAs were a median of 25.6 miles from trauma services versus 6.4 miles for urban MRG ZCTAs.
  • Within rural ZCTAs, the ZCTAs at the top of the distribution for minoritized populations were slightly farther from an emergency department or trauma center.

Availability of Nursing Homes in Minoritized Racial/Ethnic Group Areas

  • Top MRG ZCTAs having the greatest median distance to a nursing home were American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) (13.2 miles), Hispanic (10.6 miles), and multiple MRGs (11.3 miles). Rural ZCTAs were a median of 8.2 miles from the nearest nursing home compared to 2.9 miles for urban ZCTAs.
  • Overall, only 4.6% of rural ZCTAs lacked access to a nursing home within 30 miles. However, when looking at the top MRG ZCTAs, the percentage of rural ZCTAs lacking access to a nursing home within 30 miles was 14.7% for more than one MRG population ZCTAs, 13.6% for top AI/AN ZCTAs, and 11.1% for top Hispanic ZCTAs.

Availability of Substance Use Disorder Treatment in Minoritized Racial/Ethnic Group Areas

  • The median distance to the nearest methadone treatment program across all rural ZCTAs was 27.7 miles versus 8.0 miles for urban ZCTAs.
  • Overall, rural ZCTAs were more distant from the nearest buprenorphine provider than urban ZCTAs at a median of 8.0 versus 4.2 miles respectively.
  • Access to buprenorphine providers appeared poorest for top AI/AN ZCTAs with 11.9% of rural and 10.6% of urban top AI/AN ZCTAs being more than 30 miles from the nearest buprenorphine provider.
Contact Information:

Janice C. Probst, PhD
Rural and Minority Health Research Center
Phone: 803.251.6317
jprobst@mailbox.sc.edu

Additional Resources of Interest: