Maine Rural Health Research Center

Current Projects

  • Ambulance Deserts: Addressing Geographic Disparities in the Provision of Ambulance Services
    This two-year study aims to identify geographic disparities in accessing ambulance services by building a database of ambulance service locations in year one and identifying and creating maps of ambulance deserts within each of the states in year two.
    Topics: Emergency medical services and trauma, Healthcare access, Transportation
  • Health Care Use and Access Among Rural and Urban Elderly Medicare Beneficiaries
    This project will examine rural-urban differences in healthcare use and access to healthcare services among elderly Medicare enrollees using the 2011-2013 Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey. We also will identify the socioeconomic and health factors that may place rural seniors at risk for poor healthcare access.
    Topics: Aging, Medicare
  • Healthcare Use and Expenditures Among Rural and Urban Medicare Beneficiaries Aged 85 and Over
    The proportion of U.S. residents ages 85+ is expected to grow substantially in the coming decades with the impact of this growth in rural areas likely to be pronounced. This project will use data from the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey to examine rural-urban differences in healthcare use and expenditures among Medicare enrollees ages 85+.
    Topics: Aging, Healthcare access, Long-term care, Medicare
  • Out-of-Pocket Spending Among Privately Insured Rural and Urban Residents
    Out-of-pocket spending for healthcare services has been on the rise as deductibles and other cost-sharing requirements among the privately insured increase. This study compares rural and urban out-of-pocket healthcare spending to identify whether rural residents have been disproportionately affected by this trend.
    Topics: Healthcare access, Healthcare financing, Private health insurance, Public health, Uninsured and underinsured
  • Prevalence of Opioid Prescribing, Diagnoses of Opioid Use Disorder, Treatment Patterns, and Costs Among Rural Medicare Beneficiaries
    Opioid use disorder (OUD) diagnoses among the aged and disabled are among the highest and fastest growing. This study uses the 2010-2017 Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey to examine opioid prescribing rates and explore risk factors associated with OUDs and associated treatment patterns and costs within rural and urban Medicare populations.
    Topics: Medicare, Pharmacy and prescription drugs, Substance use and treatment
  • Psychiatric Bed Closures in Rural Hospitals: An Assessment of Trends, Impact, and Policy Strategies
    This study will examine trends in the closure of psychiatric beds by rural hospitals using the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Treatment Services Locator; the American Hospital Association Annual Survey of Hospitals (2010-2017); and the Area Health Resources File.
    Topics: Healthcare access, Hospitals and clinics, Mental and behavioral health
  • Rural Health Access: Affordability and Barriers to Care
    Rural-urban comparisons of healthcare access and affordability predate many policy reform efforts aimed at increasing access and decreasing costs—ongoing concerns of rural families. This study will use national health survey data to examine rural-urban differences in access to medical care, access to insurance, and affordability of care.
    Topics: Health disparities and health equity, Health reform, Health services, Healthcare access, Healthcare financing, Private health insurance, Public health, Social determinants of health
  • Rural Health Clinics Chartbook
    This project will produce a comprehensive, descriptive chartbook detailing the characteristics and status of rural health clinics (RHCs) nationally. It will also assess the use of secondary data to construct a national set of indicators for RHCs and identify gaps in our knowledge that cannot be addressed using secondary data.
    Topic: Rural Health Clinics (RHCs)
  • Rural-Urban Differences in Out-of-Pocket Prescription Drug Spending
    Using data from the 2014-17 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, this study will examine rural-urban differences in out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs. Additional analyses will examine rural-urban differences in out-of-pocket costs by type of medication and third party payer.
    Topics: Pharmacy and prescription drugs, Uninsured and underinsured
  • Understanding Rural Health Clinic Services, Use, and Reimbursement
    This study describes the scope and intensity of services provided to Medicare beneficiaries by independent and provider-based Rural Health Clinics. It will also assess the adequacy of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' changes to the outpatient evaluation and management codes in 2021 compared to the 2021 per-visit reimbursement cap.
    Topics: Health services, Healthcare financing, Hospitals and clinics, Medicare, Rural Health Clinics (RHCs)
  • Understanding Rural Non-Emergent Emergency Department Use
    Research shows rural residents use emergency departments (ED) at higher rates than urban residents. Other studies suggest rural residents are more likely to visit the ED for a non-emergent reasons. This study uses the 2014-17 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey to analyze factors associated with rural versus urban residents' non-emergent use of EDs.
    Topics: Emergency medical services and trauma, Health services, Healthcare access, Hospitals and clinics