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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Janice C. Probst, PhD
Rural and Minority Health Research Center