Maine Rural Health Research Center

Products

Listed by publication date. You can also view these publications alphabetically.

For a complete list of publications from the Center, which may include older publications and publications funded by other sources, please see the Center's website.

2017

  • Knowledge of Health Insurance Concepts and the Affordable Care Act among Rural Residents
    Policy Brief
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 07/2017
    Health insurance literacy is central to identifying eligibility for coverage and subsidies, choosing a plan, and using optimal healthcare services. This study examined rural-urban differences in knowledge and/or use of the Affordable Care Act Marketplaces; subsidies; the health insurance mandate; and health insurance terms and concepts.
  • Rural Opioid Abuse Prevention and Treatment Strategies: The Experience in Four States
    Policy Brief
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 04/2017
    Little is known about what states with large rural populations are doing to combat opioid use disorders (OUD) in rural communities. This qualitative study identified rural challenges to the provision of OUD prevention, treatment, and recovery services and explored promising strategies to tackle the opioid crisis in rural communities.
  • The Role of Public versus Private Health Insurance in Ensuring Health Care Access & Affordability for Low-Income Rural Children
    Policy Brief
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 01/2017
    Medicaid and CHIP have played a critical role in ensuring access to health coverage among children –particularly rural children. This study examines rural-urban differences in children’s access to care, and their families’ perceived affordability of that care among those enrolled in Medicaid or CHIP, and those with private insurance plans.

2016

  • Health Insurance CO-OPs: Product Availability and Premiums in Rural Counties
    Policy Brief
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 10/2016
    We describe regional distribution and market prevalence of CO-OP products in rural and urban counties, and compare the number of products available in counties with and without CO-OP plans in 2014 and 2015.
  • Are Rural Older Adults Benefiting from Increased State Spending on Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services?
    Policy Brief
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 06/2016
    Little is known about variations in the availability or use of Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) within states, across rural and urban areas. This study used national claims data to examine differences in HCBS use and expenditures among rural and urban older adult Medicaid beneficiaries receiving LTSS.
  • Health Information Exchange: A Strategy for Improving Access for Rural Veterans in the Maine Flex Rural Veterans Health Access Program
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 05/2016
    This paper reports on the design and implementation of a first-in-the-nation project to expand rural veterans’ access to healthcare by establishing a bi-directional connection between Maine’s statewide health information exchange (HIE) and Veterans Administration facilities and centers.
  • Adverse Childhood Experiences in Rural and Urban Contexts
    Policy Brief
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 04/2016
    This study was designed to address the gap in the literature examining rural-urban differences in adults’ exposure to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and to inform health system initiatives geared toward mitigating the impacts of ACEs on rural populations.
  • Pilot Testing a Rural Health Clinic Quality Measurement Reporting System
    Policy Brief
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 02/2016
    More than 4,000 Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) serve the primary care needs of rural communities. Unfortunately, the Rural Health Clinic Program is plagued by a lack of data participating clinics. This reports on the results with a focus on assessing the feasibility and utility of the reporting system and quality measures for the participating RHCs.
  • Rural Opioid Abuse: Prevalence and User Characteristics
    Policy Brief
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 02/2016
    Opioid abuse is the fastest growing substance abuse problem in the nation and the primary cause of unintentional drug overdose deaths. This study examined the rural-urban prevalence of non-medical use of pain relievers and heroin in the past year and the socio-economic characteristics associated with their use and other risky behavior.

2015

2014

  • High Deductible Health Insurance Plans in Rural Areas
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 05/2014
    Using the 2007-2010 National Health Interview Survey, this study examines rural residents’ enrollment in high deductible health plans and the implications for evolving Affordable Care Act Health Insurance Marketplaces.
  • Implications of Rurality and Psychiatric Status for Diabetic Preventive Care Use among Adults with Diabetes
    Policy Brief
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 05/2014
    This brief examines patterns of diabetic preventive care use among adults with diabetes to determine whether these patterns vary according to respondents’ rural/urban residence or the presence/absence of a mental health diagnosis.
  • Integrated Care Management in Rural Communities
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 05/2014
    This study reviews the opportunities and challenges reform initiatives under the Affordable Care Act present for rural communities. The study assesses four types of organizational models for delivering integrated care management. Each model has different strengths and drawbacks, weighing for and against implementation in rural areas.
  • Profile of Rural Residential Care Facilities: A Chartbook
    Chartbook
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 05/2014
    This chartbook offers information on part of the rural long-term services and supports (LTSS) continuum—the residential care facility (RCF). Survey results identify national/regional differences between rural and urban RCFs, focusing on facilities, resident and service characteristics of RCFs, and the ability to meet the LTSS needs of residents.
  • Health Insurance Coverage of Low-Income Rural Children Increases and is More Continuous Following CHIP Implementation
    Policy Brief
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 03/2014
    This study found that following the Children’s Health Insurance Program’s implementation, health insurance coverage and continuity increased among low-income children, particularly for those living in rural areas. By CHIP’s maturity, coverage for rural children improved so much that their uninsured rate dropped below that of urban children.
  • Meaningful Use of the Electronic Health Records by Rural Health Clinics
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 02/2014
    This paper identifies the rates of electronic health record adoption among a random national sample of rural health clinics (RHCs) and the extent to which RHCs that have adopted an EHR are likely to achieve Stage 1 meaningful use.

2013

2012

2011

  • Health Care Access and Use Among the Rural Uninsured
    Policy Brief
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 11/2011
    Using data from the 2002-2007 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, this study examined access to care and service use among non-elderly, uninsured rural and urban residents.

2010

  • Access to Mental Health Services and Family Impact of Rural Children with Mental Health Problems
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 10/2010
    Mental health problems have considerable impact on children and their families and some of these impacts are higher in rural than urban areas. Rural children are slightly but significantly more likely to have a mental health problem than urban children, are more likely to have a behavioral difficulty, and are more likely to be usually or always affected by their condition. Compared to urban children, rural children are more likely to go without access to all parent-reported needed mental health services and their families spend more time coordinating their care.
  • Impact of Employment Transitions on Health Insurance Coverage of Rural Residents
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 10/2010
    Explores the impact of changes in employment status on insurance coverage for rural and urban workers.
  • Many Urban and Rural Workers Lose Health Insurance During Job Transitions (Policy Brief)
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 10/2010
    Explores the impact of changes in employment status on insurance coverage for rural and urban workers, and the factors behind any differences.
  • Mental Health Problems Have Considerable Impact on Rural Children and their Families (Policy Brief)
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 10/2010
    Mental health problems have considerable impact on children and their families and some of these impacts are higher in rural than urban areas. Rural children are slightly but significantly more likely to have a mental health problem than urban children, are more likely to have a behavioral difficulty, and are more likely to be usually or always affected by their condition. Compared to urban children, rural children are more likely to go without access to all parent-reported needed mental health services and their families spend more time coordinating their care. This policy brief provides information on prevalence of children's mental health needs and associated access to care and family impact across rural and urban areas. Analyses are based on the 2005-06 National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs.
  • Are Rural Health Clinics Part of the Rural Safety Net? (Policy Brief)
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 09/2010
    Key Findings: 86% of independent RHCs offer free care, sliding fee scales, or both; 97% were currently accepting new Medicaid/SCHIP patients; RHCs' patient mix has a higher proportion of Medicaid/SCHIP patients in counties not served by a federally funded Community Health Center (CHC). Lacking the grant funds and federal technical assistance provided to CHCs to build service capacity, few RHCs have had the resources to expand their scope of services. The Affordable Care Act has made it clear that partnering with CHCs is an option for RHCs that find themselves serving safety net populations. More study is needed laying out the details of such arrangements, the reimbursement and governance implications, and the relative advantages and disadvantages from the perspectives of the CHC, the RHC, the physician, and especially, the patient.
  • Safety Net Activities of Independent Rural Health Clinics
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 09/2010
    Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) are an important part of the rural health care infrastructure, providing a wide range of primary care services to the rural residents of 45 states. Since RHCs are located in underserved rural areas and serve vulnerable populations, many consider them safety net providers. In this paper we explore whether and to what extent independent RHCs are serving a safety net role, or have the capacity to serve that role.
  • Mental Health Services in Rural Jails (Working Paper)
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 08/2010
    Using a qualitative approach, this study explored the role of rural jails in the mental health systems in rural communities, investigating how rural jails manage mental health and substance abuse problems among inmates, determining barriers to providing mental health services faced by rural jails, and identifying promising practices for service delivery. Rural jail administrators and mental health providers understood the need for mental health services for jail inmates but were constrained by inadequate community mental health resources, lack of coordination with community mental health providers, and infrastructure challenges including facilities, transportation, training, and legal processes. Promising practices include short-term hold policies, separation of inmates with mental health concerns, and regular communication among stakeholders.
  • Encouraging Rural Health Clinics to Provide Mental Health Services
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 05/2010
    This study examined changes in the delivery of mental health services by Rural Health Clinics (RHCs), their operational characteristics, barriers to the development of services, and policy options to encourage more RHCs to deliver mental health services. Key Findings:
    • Approximately 6% of independent and 2% of provider-based RHCs offer mental health services.
    • 38% of study RHCs reported their mental health services were not profitable but continued to provide them in response to community and patient needs.
    • An important factor in the development of RHC mental health services is the presence of a local champion who spearheads the development effort.
  • The Provision of Mental Health Services by Rural Health Clinics
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 05/2010
    The number of Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) providing specialty mental health services remains limited. This study examined changes in the delivery of mental health services by RHCs, their operational characteristics, barriers to the development of services, and policy options to encourage more RHCs to deliver mental health services. Approximately 6% of independent and 2% of provider-based RHCs offer mental health services by doctoral-level psychologists and/or clinical social workers. Models used to provide mental health services include contracted and/or employed clinicians housed in the same facility as primary care providers. A key element in the development of mental health services is the presence of an internal champion (typically clinicians or senior administrators) who identify the need for and undertake implementation of services, help overcome internal barriers, and direct resources to the development of services.
  • Community Benefit Activities of Critical Access Hospitals, Non-Metropolitan Hospitals and Metropolitan Hospitals: National and State Data (State reports)
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 03/2010
    As part of ongoing work of the Flex Monitoring Team, quality, financial, and community benefit indicators of Critical Access Hospital performance are being analyzed by the Flex Monitoring Team. Here, state level data on performance of Critical Access Hospitals in each state are summarized in state reports.
  • Monitoring the Community Benefits of CAHs: A Review of the Data (Briefing Paper)
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 03/2010
    There is a growing national interest in the benefits provided by nonprofit and public hospitals to their communities in exchange for the tax benefits or public funding that they receive.
  • Monitoring the Community Benefits of Critical Access Hospitals: A Review of the Data
    Policy Brief
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 03/2010

    This brief examines the community benefit activities of Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) using data from the Flex Monitoring Team's (FMT) pilot test of a set of community benefit data collection tools and performance indicators, the Internal Review Service's (IRS) 2006 Hospital Compliance Study, and the 2007 FMT CAH survey.

2009

  • Availability, Characteristics, and Role of Detoxification Services in Rural Areas
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 12/2009
    Few detox providers (n=235) serve rural America; 82% of rural residents live in a county without a detox provider. More than half of all rural detox providers serve patients across a 100 mile radius, making travel distances a barrier to outpatient care. Referral options to substance abuse treatment are limited, especially in isolated rural areas. Analyses are based on a 2008 survey of rural detox facilities conducted by the Maine Rural Health Research Center.
  • Few and Far Away: Detoxification Services in Rural Areas (Research & Policy Brief)
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 12/2009
    Based on Working Paper #41: Availability, Characteristics, and Role of Detoxification Services in Rural Areas. Findings: Few rural detox providers exist; 82% of rural residents live in a county without a detox provider. More than half of all rural detox providers serve a 100 mile radius. Travel distances are a barrier to outpatient detox models. Referral options to substance abuse treatment are limited, especially in isolated rural areas.
  • Mental Health Services in Rural Jails (Policy Brief)
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 09/2009
    The prevalence of mental illness among prison and jail inmates has attracted increasing attention in both mental health and criminal justice circles.
  • Health Insurance Profile Indicates Need to Expand Coverage in Rural Areas (Policy Brief)
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 07/2009
    Rural residents-particularly in the most remote rural communities-are in greater need of health reform, as demonstrated by an uninsured rate higher than that of urban residents. The rural-urban disparity in coverage is driven by higher uninsured rates among rural adults, a group that should be part of any strategic effort to improve coverage. This brief provides information on the health insurance status of rural Americans, summarized from a more detailed chartbook. Analyses are based on the 2004-05 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey.
  • Profile of Rural Health Insurance Coverage: A Chartbook
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 06/2009
    As the nation considers whether and how to reform the healthcare system, it is important to consider differences in health insurance coverage for those living in rural and urban areas. Analyses of persons under age 65 from the 2004-05 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey reveal a greater proportion of rural residents than urban residents who are uninsured or covered through public sources, especially among those living in remote areas. Rural adults are at high risk of being uninsured compared to rural children. Uninsured rates are highest among adults over age 50 in the most remote rural places. Compared to urban adults, rural adults are less likely to be in employment situations where private coverage is offered.
  • Rural-Urban Differences in Health Care Access Vary Across Measures
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 06/2009
    Higher uninsured rates and workforce shortages in rural areas suggest that rural residents face greater barriers to accessing healthcare than their urban counterparts. Analysis of the 2006 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey found mixed results. Rural residents were more likely than urban residents to have a usual source of healthcare (USC), particularly among the uninsured. Despite this, rural adults were somewhat less likely to receive certain preventive care services compared to urban adults. Additionally, rural residents were somewhat more likely to report long travel times to reach their USC and greater difficulty in reaching their provider after hours.
  • Private Health Insurance in Rural Areas: Challenges and Opportunities (Policy Brief)
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 04/2009
    Rural residents are less likely than their urban counterparts to have private health insurance coverage. This difference is driven by the unique characteristics of rural places that make it challenging to create and sustain viable private insurance pools, including the predominance of small businesses and self employed, part time, and low wage workers. This brief discusses the challenges of expanding private coverage in rural areas, and describes policy options to address them.
  • Rural Coverage Gaps Decline Following Public Health Insurance Expansions (Policy Brief)
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 02/2009
    This brief uses the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) to compare the health insurance coverage of rural and urban residents in 1997 and 2005 to assess how uninsured rates and sources of coverage have changed since SCHIP was enacted. The authors also discuss the characteristics of the rural uninsured and the implications for health insurance reform. Rural is defined as living in a non-metropolitan county, as designated by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). All presented results are statistically significant at p. = .05.

    Findings: Between 1997 and 2005, the uninsured rate among rural children declined more dramatically than among urban children, following increases in public health insurance. Public health insurance growth among rural adults was much more modest and uninsured rates remained the same. Nearly 60% of the rural uninsured have family incomes below 200% of the federal poverty level suggesting the potential for expanding public coverage. For those with higher incomes, policy strategies to strengthen private coverage will need to account for the unique employment and insurance market characteristics of rural areas.

  • Rural Children Don't Receive the Mental Health Care They Need (Policy Brief)
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 01/2009
    Just over one-third of all children with a mental health problem received a mental health visit in the past year. Controlling for other characteristics that affect access to care, rural children are 20% less likely to have a mental health visit than urban children. Having Medicaid or SCHIP increases the likelihood that a child will receive services, and this is pronounced in rural areas.

2008

  • Rural Adults Face Parity Problems and Other Barriers to Appropriate Mental Health Care
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 11/2008
    Findings suggest that a multi-level approach is essential for meeting the mental health service needs of rural residents.

    Key facts include: 8% of rural adults say that they are in "fair" or "poor" mental health versus 6% of urban adults;
    Among those using mental health services, rural residents are more likely than urban residents to use medication but not therapy. Practice guidelines for quality mental health treatment recommend that medications be given in combination with therapy;
    Both rural and urban adults have greater cost sharing for their mental healthcare than for their total healthcare use. The percentages do not differ by residence; however, rural residents may be at greater risk of forgoing mental healthcare due to costs.
    This Research & Policy Brief is based on a longer study by the authors. For more information about this study, please contact Erika Ziller at eziller@usm.maine.edu

  • Rural-Urban Differences in Work Patterns Among Adults With Depressive Symptoms
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 03/2008
    This study addresses the issue of poor mental health among young to middle-career rural residents and how their employment may be affected. Using the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY), a nationally representative survey of adults, the authors investigate how depressive symptoms affect employment patterns, and the extent to which such effects differ by rural and urban residence. Analysis of the data identified the rural sample as more likely to be married, have less education, are less likely to be black or Hispanic, and less likely to have health insurance than the urban sample. For both rural and urban subjects, individuals with depressive symptoms work less than those not depressed. Although the findings indicate no significant difference between depressed rural and urban residents in maintaining employment, questions remain about rural access to mental health services, such as employee assistance, productivity on the job, and the survival or coping strategies of rural workers with depressive symptoms.
  • Distribution of Substance Abuse Treatment Facilities Across the Rural - Urban Continuum (Research & Policy Brief No. 35B)
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 02/2008
    This Research & Policy Brief highlights findings from a recent study examining the distribution of substance abuse treatment facilities in rural and urban counties and identifying the type and intensity of services provided. Key findings include:
    • Access to substance abuse treatment is limited in rural areas by fewer treatment beds.
    • Less populated rural areas contain a small proportion of facilities offering a range of core services and varying levels of outpatient and intensive services.
    • Opioid treatment programs are nearly absent in rural areas.

2007

  • Distribution of Substance Abuse Treatment Facilities Across the Rural - Urban Continuum
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 10/2007
    Considering recent growth in substance abuse among rural populations and the documented scarcity of rural health resources, this study examines the distribution of substance abuse treatment services across the continuum of rural and urban counties, identifying the type and intensity of services provided. Using the 2004 National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services linked to the 2003 Rural-Urban Continuum Codes, we found few substance abuse treatment facilities operating outside of urban and rural adjacent areas and limited availability of intensive services across rural areas. This situation is particularly striking for opioid treatment programs, which are nearly absent in rural areas. The narrow range of services available in rural areas may preclude an individualized treatment approach and long-term follow-up recommended by professional organizations and other experts. The greater proportion of rural-based facilities accepting public payers and providing discounted care may reflect higher rates of uninsurance and underinsurance.
  • State Initiatives Funded by the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Grant Program
    Maine Rural Health Research Center, North Carolina Rural Health Research and Policy Analysis Center, University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 10/2007
    Explores activities funded by the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program (Flex Program) to strengthen the rural health care infrastructure and discusses which activities were considered most successful by State Flex Coordinators. Report produced by the Flex Monitoring Project, funded by the Office of Rural Health Policy.
  • Rural Inpatient Psychiatric Units Improve Access to Community-Based Mental Health Services, but Medicare Payment Policy a Barrier
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 08/2007
    Inpatient Psychiatric Units (IPUs) may not only be an important source of care for rural residents, but may also assist in the development of community-based services and the recruitment of mental health professionals. This study investigates the typical characteristics and admission processes of IPUs in rural hospitals with less than 50 beds, as well as the community-based services available to them when discharging patients. Reasons for developing these IPUs as well as the barriers to opening and operating a rural IPU and factors that have led some to close are also explored.
  • Rural Families More Likely to be Uninsured and Have Different Sources of Coverage
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 06/2007
    Research and policy brief examining patterns of health insurance coverage within rural families and comparing family-level insurance status for rural and urban families.
  • Substance Abuse Among Rural Youth: A Little Meth and a Lot of Booze
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 06/2007
    Research and policy brief examining substance abuse among rural youth, with rural-urban comparisons methamphetamine, oxycontin, and alcohol abuse.
  • The State Flex Program at 10 Years: Strengthening Critical Access Hospitals and Rural Communities
    Maine Rural Health Research Center, North Carolina Rural Health Research and Policy Analysis Center, University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 04/2007
    To understand the priorities and accomplishments of state Flex Grant Programs, members of the Flex Monitoring Team asked Flex Coordinators to identify and discuss their states' three most successful initiatives in the past two years. Interviews were conducted during February 2007 with Flex Coordinators and State Office of Rural Health staff (SORH) in all 45 states. The listed publication is a policy brief; the full report will be available in the fall of 2007. Report produced by the Flex Monitoring Project, funded by the Office of Rural Health Policy.
  • The Community Impact of Critical Access Hospitals
    Maine Rural Health Research Center, North Carolina Rural Health Research and Policy Analysis Center, University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 02/2007
    Discusses the findings of a project to understand the community involvement and impact of Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) and the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program (Flex Program). Report produced by the Flex Monitoring Project, funded by the Office of Rural Health Policy.
  • Exploring the Community Impact of Critical Access Hospitals
    Maine Rural Health Research Center, North Carolina Rural Health Research and Policy Analysis Center, University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 01/2007
    Reports on a series of site visits to six diverse rural communities and Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) to assess the experiences and impact of these hospitals in responding to their community's health infrastructure needs. Report produced by the Flex Monitoring Project, funded by the Office of Rural Health Policy.

2006

  • Out-Of-Pocket Health Spending And The Rural Underinsured
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 11/2006
    Estimates underinsurance rates among privately insured rural residents and the characteristics associated with rural underinsurance.
  • Integrating Primary Care and Mental Health: Current Practices in Rural Community Health Centers
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 10/2006
    Provides information on models for integrating mental health services in rural community health centers, viability of linkages between primary care and mental health providers, resources available, reimbursement, treatment philosophy, diversification, referral and enhancement. Available for purchase.
  • Quality and Performance Improvement Grant Activities Under the Flex Program
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 08/2006
    Describes quality and performance improvement activities proposed by states during the 2005 grant year under the Medicare Rural Health Flexibility Program (Flex Program). Report produced by the Flex Monitoring Project, funded by the Office of Rural Health Policy.
  • Creating Program Logic Models: A Toolkit for State Flex Programs
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 04/2006
    Provide states with a tool for planning, managing, reporting on, and assessing their Flex Program goals, activities, and accomplishments; assistance in identifying and defining measurable outcomes; information linking state-level Flex Program strategies to specific and measurable outcomes; and a consistent program-reporting framework to convey results to both internal and external stakeholders. The Program Logic Model (PLM) Toolkit is organized according to the steps in the PLM development process and guides the user through each section. Included in the Toolkit is an overview of PLMs, their component parts, and the application of the PLM framework to the planning, implementation, and evaluation of the Flex Program. The bulk of the Toolkit provides a step-by-step approach to developing a Program Logic Model. The final section of the Toolkit lists resources for additional information on PLMs. Report produced by the Flex Monitoring Project, funded by the Office of Rural Health Policy.
  • A Review of State Flex Program Plans, 2004-2005
    Maine Rural Health Research Center, University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 03/2006
    Examines the objectives and project activities proposed by states in their Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program (Flex Program) grant applications for Fiscal Year 2004 to strengthen the rural healthcare infrastructure in their states. Highlights recent trends in State Flex Program planning, development, and implementation. Report produced by the Flex Monitoring Project, funded by the Office of Rural Health Policy.
  • Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Activities Funded by the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program
    Maine Rural Health Research Center, North Carolina Rural Health Research and Policy Analysis Center
    Date: 02/2006
    Describes the EMS related activities that the 45 states receiving funding from the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility (Flex) Program proposed to conduct in fiscal year 2004-2005. Since the first full year of funding, the number and range of EMS improvement activities proposed has increased substantially states' proposals contained 239 documented EMS improvement activities. Of these, 40% focused on the Integration of Health Services attribute, 13% on Human Resource challenges, and 13% on Education Systems. Continued support of activities begun prior to 2004 was common. Report produced by the Flex Monitoring Project, funded by the Office of Rural Health Policy.
  • Rural Health Research in Progress in the Rural Health Research Centers Program, 10th Edition
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 02/2006
    Annual monograph providing policymakers with a concise source of rural health services research currently underway in the Rural Health Research Centers funded by the Office of Rural Health Policy. Provides a context for legislation current and proposed that affects rural health services and populations. A summary report booklet is provided to the federal Office of Rural Health Policy prior to the full printing of the monograph. The summary booklet is also distributed to members of the Senate Rural Caucus and the House Rural Health Care Coalition.
  • Rural and Frontier Mental and Behavioral Health Care: Barriers, Effective Policy Strategies, Best Practices
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 2006
    Discusses barriers to mental and behavioral health service delivery in rural America. Includes model programs and model policy strategies for rural mental and behavioral healthcare delivery. Also discusses the roles that telehealth and that the State Offices of Rural Health should play in service delivery.
  • Rural Hospitals and Long-Term Care: the Challenges of Diversification and Integration Strategies
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 2006
    There are many contemporary challenges experienced by older rural residents and their communities in accessing and providing services. However, the issue is not in comparing rural older adults to their urban counterparts; rather, it is that rural people have unique characteristics that must be considered when planning and providing services.
  • Rural Residents More Likely to be Underinsured
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 2006
    Multiple studies have demonstrated that rural residents, particularly those living far from urban areas, have high uninsured rates. However, even those with private health insurance coverage can be at risk of having high out-of-pocket health care costs. Understanding the degree to which rural residents are "underinsured" has important implications for rural health policy and practice.
  • Smallest Rural Hospitals Treat Mental Health Emergencies
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 2006
    Discusses the extent to which rural emergency rooms encounter and treat mental health patients.

2005

  • Out-of-Pocket Health Care Spending and the Rural Underinsured
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 12/2005
    Reports the results of a study to identify whether and to what extent there are rural-urban differences in underinsured rates among the privately insured, and, where differences exist, to understand what characteristics of rural residents are related to their likelihood of being underinsured. Using the 2001 and 2001 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), the authors examined the annual out-of-pocket healthcare expenditures for U.S. residents under age 65 that were continuously insured by a private plan in either 2001 or 2002. Findings showed that, despite having private health insurance coverage, those who use medical services continue to pay for a substantial portion of their own healthcare costs, particularly those living in rural areas. The average rural non-adjacent individual paid for 39% of their care in 2001 or 2002, compared to 35% for rural adjacent and 32% for urban individuals. Additional findings showed that one out of eight non-adjacent residents is underinsured (12.4%), compared to 10% of rural adjacent and 7% of urban residents.
  • Mental Health Encounters in Critical Access Hospital Emergency Rooms: A National Survey
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 09/2005
    Investigates the extent and types of cases that present with mental health problems in Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) emergency rooms (ERs), as well as the resources available to ER staff for addressing such problems and what actually happens to such patients. Emergency department managers in a random sample of 422 CAHs in 44 states completed a telephone survey (response rate = 84.7%) responding to questions about prevalence of mental health problems in their ER and what options they had for responding to such problems. On average, CAHs had 99 emergency room visits per week. Of these visits, 9.4% were mental health related. CAH ERs play a significant role in providing mental health services to rural residents. Although nearly 20% of mental health encounters result in transfers to other facilities, over 40% of mental health problems are addressed on-site through treatment or referrals. Nearly half (43%) of CAH ER managers reported having no access to local mental health providers of any kind.
  • Scope of Services Offered by Critical Access Hospitals: Results of the 2004 National CAH Survey
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 03/2005
    Three years of national survey data (2000, 2002, and 2004) were used to examine the scope of services offered by Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs). The authors investigated how the services offered by CAHs have changed, the role of network affiliations in these changes, and the reasons administrators gave for reported service expansions. Additionally, the authors looked at how services in CAHs have changed over time. Consistent with findings in previous surveys conducted by the Flex Team, conversion to CAH status has not led to downsizing of services. Most CAHs offer a core set of services including radiology, laboratory services, emergency rooms, swing beds, pharmacy, outpatient rehabilitation, outpatient surgery, and specialty clinics. While this core has not changed significantly over the period of three surveys, many CAHs have added or expanded services not dependent on inpatient capacity Report produced by the Flex Monitoring Project, funded by the Office of Rural Health Policy.
  • Rural Health Research in Progress in the Rural Health Research Centers Program, 9th Edition
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 02/2005
    Annual monograph providing policymakers with a concise source of rural health services research currently underway in the Rural Health Research Centers funded by the Office of Rural Health Policy. Provides a context for legislation current and proposed that affects rural health services and populations. A summary report booklet is provided to the federal Office of Rural Health Policy prior to the full printing of the monograph. The summary booklet is also distributed to members of the Senate Rural Caucus and the House Rural Health Care Coalition.
  • Comparing Patient Safety in Rural Hospitals by Bed Count
    Maine Rural Health Research Center, Upper Midwest Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 2005
    Reports results of a study to determine how patient safety rates, offered services, and patient mix vary by bed count among rural hospitals. The authors found that small rural hospitals had rates of potential patient safety events that were significantly lower than those of large rural hospitals for three of the 19 patient safety indicators (PSIs). The types of services offered by rural hospitals varied significantly according to bed numbers, and the likelihood of an offered service increased as bed counts increased. The types of patients treated by rural hospitals, however, did not vary significantly by bed count. The results suggest that rural hospitals differ substantially by offered services and differ somewhat in PSI rates, relative to bed counts. But given the limited information on patient severity using administrative data, future research should look to develop more effective ways to account for patient severity when measuring patient safety rates among hospitals with varying bed counts.

2004

  • Are Advanced Practice Nurses A Solution To Rural Mental Health Workforce Shortages?
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 04/2004
    Summarizes the clinical skills and prescriptive authority of Advanced Practice Psychiatric Nurses (APPNs), and investigates current trends in their geographic distribution to determine what their future role may be in addressing rural mental health needs. Includes information on prescription authority and collaboration requirements for each state, as well as state distribution of APPNs.
  • Rural Health Research in Progress in the Rural Health Research Centers Program, 8th Edition
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 02/2004

    Annual monograph providing policymakers with a concise source of rural health services research currently underway in the Rural Health Research Centers funded by the Office of Rural Health Policy. Provides a context for legislation current and proposed that affects rural health services and populations. A summary report booklet is provided to the federal Office of Rural Health Policy prior to the full printing of the monograph. The summary booklet is also distributed to members of the Senate Rural Caucus and the House Rural Health Care Coalition.

2003

  • Health Insurance Coverage Of The Rural And Urban Near Elderly
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 10/2003
    Reports the results of a study that used data from the 1996-1998 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) to address two principal research questions related to health insurance coverage for the rural near elderly. Findings indicate that the rural near elderly are both more likely to be uninsured and to be in fair or poor health, and when the near elderly become uninsured they may have a much more difficult time regaining health insurance than younger groups. This issue may be even more problematic in rural areas as the findings indicate that 14% of the rural near elderly are uninsured for the entire survey year, compared to 10% of the urban near elderly.
  • Rural Health Research In Progress in the Rural Health Research Centers Program, 7th edition
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 03/2003
    Annual monograph providing policymakers with a concise source of rural health services research currently underway in the Rural Health Research Centers funded by the Office of Rural Health Policy. Provides a context for legislation current and proposed that affects rural health services and populations. A summary report booklet is provided to the federal Office of Rural Health Policy prior to the full printing of the monograph. The summary booklet is also distributed to members of the Senate Rural Caucus and the House Rural Health Care Coalition.
  • The Characteristics and Roles of Rural Health Clinics in the United States: A Chartbook
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 01/2003
    Reports on the results of a national survey of Rural Health Clinics (RHCs). Information was collected on a wide range of topics of concern to RHCs including: 1) the characteristics and operations of the clinics; 2) their location relative to the underservice problems and access needs of rural areas; 3) safety net functions of RHCs; 4) staffing, recruitment and financial issues; and 5) involvement in the training of health care professionals. Among the findings: most RHCs continue to serve rural, underserved communities; RHCs are filling a valuable safety net role by serving Medicaid, uninsured, and low-income patients and providing free and reduced cost care; recruitment and retention is a problem for RHCs, and some RHCs face continued financial challenges despite cost-based reimbursement. RHCs continue to be an important source of primary care and safety net services in rural communities. Legislative efforts to address concerns about the program have included the refinement of the shortage area criteria used by the RHC program (Balanced Budget Act of 1997) and the implementation of a Medicaid prospective payment system (Benefits Improvement and Protection Act of 2000). Additional research is needed to understand the impact of these changes on the RHCs and the residents of rural communities served by them.

2002

  • The Role of Community Mental Health Centers as Rural Safety Net Providers
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 05/2002
    Investigates the extent to which those organizations formerly designated as community mental health centers (CMHCs) currently act as a rural mental health safety net, e.g., provide mental health services for free or at reduced charges to rural populations not covered by public or private insurance or grants. Findings: Based on three comparative case studies, CMHCs continue to believe that it is within their mission to act as a mental health safety net, but all three also acknowledged that their priority population is now SPMI (serious and persistent mental illness) adults and SED (seriously emotionally disturbed) children. Their ability to serve indigent clients who do not fall into these categories depends on their ability to cross-subsidize such services with funds designated for their priority populations. These providers were also able to fund some safety net services with grant funds made available through federal and regional programs, often targeted to outreach and prevention. In Minnesota and Oregon, county government and county funded social services also supplemented the safety net in meaningful ways. Lacking such county involvement, the Maine CMHC was forced to use waiting lists to manage the demand for free care. We conclude that county funding and grant writing are two ways that CMHCs have been able to plug the otherwise widening hole in the rural mental health safety net. Based on the findings, the report recommends an explicit discussion of the mental health safety net, both urban and rural, using the Institute of Medicine's report on America's Health Care Safety Net as a model. Also recommended are outreach programs to facilitate access to services for rural residents experiencing stress, depression and anxiety, and a shift from diagnosis-specific funding to the use of a family systems approach for those thus referred.
  • State Licensure Laws and the Mental Health Professions: Implications for the Rural Mental Health Workforce
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 05/2002
    Investigates whether and the extent to which licensure laws that determine the permissible scope of practice for each of these professions may affect the availability of mental health services, particularly in rural communities. Findings: Licensure laws authorize non-physician mental health providers to practice assessment, treatment planning, and individual and group counseling independently in most of the 40 states studied. Many states do not explicitly grant the authority to all of these professions for diagnosis or psychotherapy, but none explicitly deny it. Despite this finding, Medicare and some other payers do not directly reimburse Marriage and Family Therapists or Licensed Professional Counselors. Laws that require clinical supervision of newly trained practitioners to be performed exclusively by a member of the profession in a face-to face setting may make it difficult for a new graduate seeking rural practice to log the number of required hours within the specified time limit to qualify for independent practice. Some states' laws allow supervision that is not face-to-face, a rural-friendly policy. Also discussed are the nature and effects of guild behavior in the mental health professions. Based on the findings, report recommends that states simplify licensure and clarify clinical roles by combining regulatory functions for several professions into a single office or agency; that Medicare reconsider its position on reimbursing Marriage and Family Therapists or Licensed Professional Counselors; that professional competition over the right to practice and be reimbursed be addressed; and that supervision requirements be modified to allow new mental health professional graduates to address rural needs soon after graduation.
  • Diabetes and the Rural Safety Net
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 01/2002
    Investigates the extent to which the rural safety net is able to meet the needs of people with diabetes. Finds that small rural communities have a relatively greater need for safety net services to diabetics than their urban counterparts. To provide the needed array of services, medications, and support, a coordinated, team approach to care is needed. Such an approach would include the following elements: insurance coverage would be consistent with the standards of care; team management and care coordination would be facilitated, and the informal safety net would be formalized.

2001

  • Patterns of Health Insurance Coverage Among Rural and Urban Children
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 11/2001
    Assesses differences in the patterns of insurance coverage and uninsured spells among rural and urban children in 20 states. Also examines the implications of those differences for the design and implementation of public insurance programs. Among its findings: Although the average duration of new uninsured spells was shorter among rural than urban children, rural children were more likely to experience protracted spells of uninsurance. Rural children were also more likely than urban children to move between public and private coverage. These findings have important implications for designing insurance expansion programs and outreach strategies to effectively enroll and retain rural children.
  • Addressing Mental Health Workforce Needs in Underserved Rural Areas: Accomplishments and Challenges
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 10/2001
    Reviews efforts to address mental health workforce needs in underserved rural areas and addresses three questions: 1) How is health and mental health workforce adequacy currently measured? 2) How do unique characteristics of rural communities and the mental health service delivery system challenge current methods for determining workforce adequacy? 3) What role has the federal government played in addressing health and mental health workforce needs in underserved rural areas? Finds that current workforce adequacy measurements all focus on physicians and are limited by the lack of a commonly accepted way to obtain needed data and by widely varying estimates of adequate population-to-provider ratios. In addition, the pluralistic and minimally coordinated nature of the mental health services system makes it difficult to translate methods for estimating workforce adequacy from health to mental health. Finally, there are several federal efforts to address workforce needs that foster training, provide scholarships, fund demonstration programs, and allow foreign medical graduates to serve in underserved areas. Makes several recommendations pertaining to the collection of data, field-testing of estimation models, and increasing the supply of mental health service providers.
  • Admission Severity and Mortality Rates Among Rural and Urban Nursing Facility Residents with Dementia (Research & Policy Brief)
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 09/2001
    Assesses whether the potentially higher utilization of nursing facility services in rural communities can be attributed to differences in use patterns by older adults with dementia. Specifically, addresses the question of whether rural nursing facility residents with dementia are less impaired at the time of their admission to a nursing facility than urban residents with dementia.
  • Medicaid Managed Behavioral Health Programs in Rural Areas (Research and Policy Brief)
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 08/2001
    Study of which states have implemented Medicaid managed behavioral health (MMBH) programs in rural areas. Describes these programs in terms of Medicaid populations served, program design, and implementation model. Describe the experience of programs regarding access to and coordination of services.
  • Developing Affordable Non-medical Residential Care in Rural Communities: Barriers and Opportunities
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 05/2001
    Explores the challenges and opportunities for affordable non-medical residential care (NMRC) development in rural areas.
  • Admission Severity and Mortality Rates Among Rural and Urban Nursing Facility Residents with Dementia
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 03/2001
    Assesses whether the potentially higher utilization of nursing facility services in rural communities can be attributed to differences in use patterns by older adults with dementia. Specifically, addresses the question of whether rural nursing facility residents with dementia are less impaired at the time of their admission to a nursing facility than urban residents with dementia.
  • Financing and Payment Issues in Rural Long Term Care Integration (Brief)
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 02/2001
    Reviews current research and experience and identifies key policy and program considerations for integrated acute and long term care financing in rural areas.
  • Medicaid Managed Behavioral Health in Rural Areas
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 01/2001
    Study of which states have implemented Medicaid managed behavioral health (MMBH) programs in rural areas. Describes these programs in terms of Medicaid populations served, program design, and implementation model. Describe the experience of programs regarding access to and coordination of services.

2000

  • Designing a Prescription Drug Benefit for Rural Medicare Beneficiaries: Principles, Criteria, and Assessment
    Maine Rural Health Research Center, RUPRI Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis
    Date: 08/2000
    The purpose of this paper is to offer a rural perspective on the current debate over the design and implementation of a Medicare prescription drug benefit. Background information on rural Medicare beneficiaries' need for, and access to, prescription drugs is provided, along with a set of rural-oriented principles for use in evaluating how different prescription drug proposals may meet the needs of rural beneficiaries. Report produced by the RUPRI Rural Health Panel.
  • Improving Prescription Drug Coverage for Rural Medicare Beneficiaries: Key Rural Considerations and Objectives for Legislative Proposals
    Maine Rural Health Research Center, RUPRI Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis
    Date: 06/2000
    This Policy Paper combines the work from current projects of the Maine Rural Health Research Center (MRHRC) and the Rural Health Panel of the Rural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI) to provide a statement of specific rural considerations and objectives for any proposal that would add a prescription drug benefit to the Medicare program. Our intent is to establish a framework for assessing the effects of proposals on rural beneficiaries. Report produced by the RUPRI Rural Health Panel.
  • Financing and Payment Issues in Rural Long Term Care Integration (Full Report)
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 2000
    Reviews current research and experience and identifies key policy and program considerations for integrated acute and long term care financing in rural areas. Finds that full capitation of acute and long term care payments is an urban financial integration model that is often not applicable in rural areas. Many rural areas do not have adequate infrastructure to support full capitation models, nor are such models necessarily consistent with the common rural area goal of preserving and strengthening existing providers. Other incremental payment approaches that support some integration of services are more feasible for rural areas, including the creation of fee-for-service incentives, partial capitation, and other risk limitation strategies.