WWAMI Rural Health Research Center

Journal Articles

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

  • Barriers Rural Physicians Face Prescribing Buprenorphine for Opioid Use Disorder
    WWAMI Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 07/2017
    Opioid use disorder is a serious public health problem. Management with buprenorphine is an effective medication-assisted treatment, but 60.1% of rural counties lack a physician with a Drug Enforcement Agency waiver to prescribe buprenorphine. This national study surveyed all rural physicians who have received a waiver in the United States.

2016

  • What Is the Potential of Community Paramedicine to Fill Rural Healthcare Gaps?
    WWAMI Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 11/2016
    This study collected information on rural community paramedicine in the U.S. programs to describe their goals, target populations, services offered, connections with local community providers and resources, outcomes measured, and results, where available.
  • Do Residencies that Aim to Produce Rural Family Physicians Offer Relevant Training?
    WWAMI Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 09/2016
    Examines the rural-centric family medicine residencies, their training locations, and rurally relevant skills training provided. Rural training can promote rural practice, but the number of family medicine residencies with a rural focus, geographic distribution of training, and training content are poorly understood.
  • Nurse Practitioner Autonomy and Satisfaction in Rural Settings
    WWAMI Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 01/2016
    Compares urban and rural primary care nurse practitioners (NPs) by practice location in urban, large rural, small rural, or isolated small rural areas by using analysis of the 2012 National Sample Survey of NPs.

2015

2014

2010

  • Quality of Care for Myocardial Infarction in Rural and Urban Hospitals
    WWAMI Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 2010
    In the mid-1990s, significant gaps existed in the quality of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) care between rural and urban hospitals. Since then, overall AMI care quality has improved. This study uses more recent data to determine whether rural-urban AMI quality gaps have persisted.

2009

2008

  • Access to Specialty Health Care for Rural American Indians in Two States
    WWAMI Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 06/2008
    Examines access to specialty services among rural Indian populations in Montana and New Mexico, based on a survey sent to primary care providers addressing access to specialty physicians, perceived barriers to access, and access to nonphysician clinical services.
  • Access to Cancer Services for Rural Colorectal Cancer Patients
    WWAMI Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 2008
    Includes findings from a study to determine how far rural and urban colorectal cancer (CRC) patients travel to three types of specialty cancer care services-surgery, medical oncology consultation, and radiation oncology consultation.

2007

2006

  • Wyoming Physicians Are Significant Providers of Safety Net Care
    WWAMI Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 11/2006
    Describes the contributions of family and general practice physicians from Wyoming to the health care safety net.
  • Problem Drinking: Rural and Urban Trends in America, 1995/1997 to 2003
    WWAMI Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 03/2006
    Assesses the prevalence of, and recent trends in, alcohol use among adults 18 years and older in rural areas of the United States. The paper finds that heavy drinking was highest and increasing in urban areas, but that binge drinking was greater in rural areas. It recommends tailoring interventions specifically to meet the needs of rural residents.
  • The Changing Geography of Americans Graduating from Foreign Medical Schools
    WWAMI Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 02/2006
    Reports the results of a study of U.S.-born international medical graduates, analyzing changes in their numbers and countries of training from the 1960s and before until the early 2000s.
  • Modeling the Mental Health Workforce in Washington State: Using State Licensing Data to Examine Provider Supply in Rural and Urban Areas
    WWAMI Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 2006
    Identifies mental health shortage areas using existing licensing and survey data. Found that notable shortages of mental health providers existed throughout the state, especially in rural areas. Urban areas had 3x the psychiatrist FTEs per 100,000 and more than 1.5x the nonpsychiatrist mental health provider FTEs per 100,000 as rural areas.
  • Prevalence And Trends In Smoking: A National Rural Study
    WWAMI Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 2006
    Using data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, the prevalence of smoking between 1994-1996 and 2000-2001 did not change substantially for the United States as a whole. The prevalence of smoking for rural residents decreased by more than 2 percent in six states. However, it increased by 2 percent or more in ten states.
  • Professional Liability Issues and Practice Patterns of Obstetrical Providers in Washington State
    WWAMI Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 2006
    Objective: To describe recent changes in obstetric practice patterns and liability insurance premium costs and their consequences to Washington State obstetric providers (obstetrician-gynecologists, family physicians, certified nurse midwives, licensed midwives).
    Methods: All obstetrician-gynecologists, rural family physicians, certified nurse midwives, licensed midwives, and a simple random sample of urban family physicians were surveyed about demographic and practice characteristics, liability insurance characteristics, practice changes and limitations due to liability insurance issues, obstetric practices, and obstetric practice environment changes.
    Results: Fewer family physicians provide obstetric services than obstetrician-gynecologists, certified nurse midwives, and licensed midwives. Mean liability insurance premiums for obstetric providers increased by 61% for obstetrician-gynecologists, 75% for family physicians, 84% for certified nurse midwives, and 34% for licensed midwives from 2002 to 2004. Providers' most common monetary responses to liability insurance issues were to reduce compensation and to raise cash through loans and liquidating assets. In the 2 years of markedly increased premiums, obstetrician-gynecologists reported increasing their cesarean rates, their obstetric consultation rates, and the number of deliveries. They reported decreasing high-risk obstetric procedures during that same period.
    Conclusion: Liability insurance premiums rose dramatically from 2002 to 2004 for Washington's obstetric providers, leading many to make difficult financial decisions. Many obstetric providers reported a variety of practice changes during that interval. Although this study's results do not document an impending exodus of providers from obstetric practice, rural areas are most vulnerable because family physicians provide the majority of rural obstetric care and are less likely to practice obstetrics.
  • Shortages of Medical Personnel At Community Health Centers: Implications for Planned Expansion
    WWAMI Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 2006
    Examines the status of workforce shortages that may limit Community Health Center (CHC) expansion by surveying all 846 federally-funded US CHCs that directly provide clinical services and are within the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

2005

  • The Impact of U.S. Medical Students' Debt On Their Choice of Primary Care Careers: An Analysis of Data from the 2002 Medical School Graduation Questionnaire
    WWAMI Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 09/2005
    Examined results from questions on the Association of American Medical Colleges' 2002 Medical School Graduation Questionnaire that focused on students' debt and career choices to examine the hypothesis that medical students' rising debt is one of the factors that explains the recent decline in students' interest in family medicine and primary care.
  • Rural Definitions for Health Policy and Research
    WWAMI Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 07/2005
    Defining "rural" for health policy and research purposes requires researchers and policy analysts to specify which aspects of rurality are most relevant to the topic at hand and then select an appropriate definition. Rural and urban taxonomies often do not discuss important demographic, cultural, and economic differences across rural places-differences that have major implications for policy and research. Factors such as geographic scale and region also must be considered. Several useful rural taxonomies are discussed and compared in this article. Careful attention to the definition of "rural" is required for effectively targeting policy and research aimed at improving the health of rural Americans.
  • Explaining Black-White Differences in Receipt of Recommended Colon Cancer Treatment
    WWAMI Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 2005
    Black-white disparities exist in receipt of recommended medical care, including colorectal cancer treatment. This retrospective cohort study examines the degree to which health systems (e.g., physician, hospital) factors explain black-white disparities in colon cancer care. Black and white Medicare-insured colon cancer patients have an equal opportunity to learn about adjuvant chemotherapy from a medical oncologist but do not receive chemotherapy equally. Little disparity was explained by health systems; more was explained by illness severity, social support, and environment. Further qualitative research is needed to understand the factors that influence the lower receipt of chemotherapy by black patients.
  • The Flight of Physicians From West Africa: Views of African Physicians and Implications for Policy
    WWAMI Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 2005
    West African-trained physicians have been migrating from the sub-continent to rich countries, primarily the US and the UK, since medical education began in Nigeria and Ghana in the 1960s. In 2003, we visited six medical schools in West Africa to investigate the magnitude, causes, and consequences of the migration.
  • A National Study of Obesity Prevalence and Trends by Type of Rural County
    WWAMI Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 2005
    Analyzes data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System for 1994-1996 and 2000-2001 to estimate the recent trends in obesity among U.S. adults residing in rural locations. In 2000-2001 the prevalence of obesity was 23.0% for rural adults and 20.5% for urban, representing increases of 4.8% and 5.5%, respectively, since 1994-1996.
  • Trends in Professional Advice to Lose Weight Among Obese Adults, 1994-2000
    WWAMI Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 2005
    The authors studied whether rising obesity prevalence in the U.S. was accompanied by an increasing trend in professional advice to lose weight among obese adults, and found that disparities in professional advice to lose weight associated with income and educational attainment increased from 1994 to 2000. They concluded that there is a need for mechanisms that allow health care professionals to devote sufficient attention to weight control and to link with evidence-based weight loss interventions, especially those that target groups most at risk for obesity

2004

  • An Analysis of Medicare's Incentive Payment Program for Physicians in Health Professional Shortage Areas
    WWAMI Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 03/2004
    The Medicare Incentive Payment program provides a 10 percent bonus payment to physicians who treat patients in Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs). Results show that physicians eligible for the bonus payments often did not claim them, and physicians who likely did not work in approved HPSA sites, claimed the bonus payments and received them.
  • The Migration of Physicians From Sub-Saharan Africa to the United States of America: Measures of the African Brain Drain
    WWAMI Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 2004
    The objective of this paper is to describe the numbers, characteristics, and trends in the migration to the United States of physicians trained in sub-Saharan Africa.
    Methods: We used the American Medical Association 2002 Masterfile to identify and describe physicians who received their medical training in sub-Saharan Africa and are currently practicing in the USA.
    Results: More than 23% of America's 771 491 physicians received their medical training outside the USA, the majority (64%) in low-income or lower middle-income countries. A total of 5334 physicians from sub-Saharan Africa are in that group, a number that represents more than 6% of the physicians practicing in sub-Saharan Africa now. Nearly 86% of these Africans practicing in the USA originate from only three countries: Nigeria, South Africa and Ghana. Furthermore, 79% were trained at only 10 medical schools.
    Conclusions: Physician migration from poor countries to rich ones contributes to worldwide health workforce imbalances that may be detrimental to the health systems of source countries. The migration of over 5000 doctors from sub-Saharan Africa to the USA has had a significantly negative effect on the doctor-to-population ratio of Africa. The finding that the bulk of migration occurs from only a few countries and medical schools suggests policy interventions in only a few locations could be effective in stemming the brain drain.
  • The Productivity of Washington State's Obstetrician-Gynecologist Workforce: Does Gender Make a Difference?
    WWAMI Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 2004
    Objective: To compare the practice productivity of female and male obstetrician-gynecologists in Washington State.
    Methods: The primary data collection tool was a practice survey that accompanied each licensed practitioner's license renewal in 1998-1999. Washington State birth certificate data were linked with the licensure data to obtain objective information regarding obstetric births.
    Results: Of the 541 obstetrician-gynecologists identified, two thirds were men and one third were women. Women were significantly younger than men (mean age 43.3 years versus 51.7 years). Ten practice variables were evaluated: total weeks worked per year, total professional hours per week, direct patient care hours per week, nondirect patient care hours per week, outpatient visits per week, inpatient visits per week, percent practicing obstetrics, number of obstetrical deliveries per year, percentage working less than 32 hours per week, and percentage working 60 or more hours per week. Of these, only 2 variables showed significant differences: inpatient visits per week (women 10.1 per week, men 12.8 per week, P <= .01) and working 60 or more hours per week (women 22.1% versus men 31.5%, P <= .05). After controlling for age, analysis of covariance and multiple logistic regression confirmed these findings and in addition showed that women worked 4.1 fewer hours per week than men (P < .01). When examining the ratio of female-to-male practice productivity in 10-year age increments from the 30-39 through the 50-59 age groups, a pattern emerged suggesting lower productivity in many variables in the women in the 40-49 age group.
    Conclusion: Only small differences in practice productivity between men and women were demonstrated in a survey of nearly all obstetrician-gynecologists in Washington State. Changing demographics and behaviors of the obstetrician-gynecologist workforce will require ongoing longitudinal studies to confirm these findings and determine whether they are generalizable to the rest of the United States.
  • Quality of Care for Acute Myocardial Infarction in Rural and Urban U.S. Hospitals
    WWAMI Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 2004
    Acute myocardial infarction (AMI) is a common and important cause of admission to rural hospitals, as transport of patients with AMI to urban settings can result in unacceptable delays in care. This study examines the quality of care for patients with AMI in rural hospitals with differing degrees of remoteness from urban centers.

2003

  • Attitudes of Family Physicians in Washington State Toward Physician-Assisted Suicide
    WWAMI Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 02/2003
    Physician-assisted suicide is difficult and controversial. With recent laws allowing physicians to assist in a terminally ill patient's suicide under certain circumstances, the debate concerning the appropriate and ethical role for physicians has intensified. This paper utilizes data from a 1997 survey of family physicians in Washington.

2002

  • Family Medicine Training in Rural Areas
    WWAMI Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 09/2002

    Letter to the Editor: The discipline of family medicine was created in the 1970s, in part, as a way to address the chronic shortage of US rural physicians. It was predicted that the new discipline would augment the supply of rural clinicians because family physicians are much more likely than other physicians to settle in rural areas.

    There is also empirical evidence that training family physicians in rural areas increases the likelihood that residency graduates will choose to settle in rural places. However, the exact proportion of family medicine residency programs located in truly rural parts of the United States remains unknown, as does the extent to which training rural physicians is a priority of existing family medicine residency programs.

  • Perinatal and Infant Health Among Rural and Urban American Indians/Alaska Natives
    WWAMI Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 09/2002
    Provides a national profile of rural and urban American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) maternal and infant health.
  • Rural-Urban Differences in the Public Health Workforce: Findings From Local Health Departments in three Rural Western States
    WWAMI Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 07/2002
    Most local health departments or districts are small and rural; two thirds of the nation's 2832 local health departments serve populations smaller than 50,000 people. Rural local health departments have small staffs and slender budgets, yet they are expected to provide a wide array of services during a period when the health care system of which they are a part is undergoing change.

    This study provided quantitative, population-based data on the supply and composition of the rural public health workforce in 3 extremely rural states: Alaska, Montana, and Wyoming. The study focused on the relative supply of personnel in the principal public health occupational categories, differences across states in staffing levels, and difficulties experienced in recruiting and retaining personnel.

2001

2000

  • The Effect of the Doctor-Patient Relationship on Emergency Department Use Among the Elderly
    WWAMI Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 01/2000
    OBJECTIVES: This study sought to determine the rate of emergency department use among the elderly and examined whether that use is reduced if the patient has a principal-care physician.
    METHODS: The Health Care Financing Administration's National Claims History File was used to study emergency department use by Medicare patients older than 65 years in Washington State during 1994. RESULTS: A total of 18.1% of patients had 1 or more emergency department visits during the study year; the rate increased with age and illness severity. Patients with principal-care physicians were much less likely to use the emergency department for every category of disease severity. After case mix, Medicaid eligibility, and rural/urban residence were controlled for, the odds ratio for having any emergency department visit was 0.47 for patients with a generalist principal-care physician and 0.58 for patients with a specialist principal-care physician.
    CONCLUSIONS: The rate of emergency department use among the elderly is substantial, and most visits are for serious medical problems. The presence of a continuous relationship with a physician--regardless of specialty--may reduce emergency department use.
  • The Distribution of Rural Female Generalist Physicians in the United States
    WWAMI Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 2000
    Female physicians are underrepresented in rural areas. What impact might the increasing proportion of women in medicine have on the rural physician shortage? To begin addressing this question, we present data describing the geographic distribution of female physicians in the United States.
  • Educating Generalist Physicians for Rural Practice: How Are We Doing?
    WWAMI Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 2000
    About 20 percent of Americans live in rural areas, 9 percent of physicians practice there. Physicians consistently settle in metropolitan, suburban, and other nonrural areas. This report summarizes the successes/failures of medical education and government initiatives intended to prepare and place more generalist physicians in rural practice.
  • Emergency Department Use by the Rural Elderly
    WWAMI Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 2000
    This study uses Medicare data to compare emergency department (ED) use by rural and urban elderly beneficiaries. Given the similarity of diagnostic conditions associated with ED visits, rural EDs must be capable of dealing with the same range of emergency conditions as urban EDs.

1999

1998

  • Availability of Anesthesia Personnel in Rural Washington and Montana
    WWAMI Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 03/1998
    Anesthesia has historically been an undersupplied specialty. Health personnel issues used to be dominated by the findings of the 1980 Graduate Medical Education National Advisory Committee study, which suggested that anesthesia would be a balanced specialty for the rest of the century. Recent studies, however, have demonstrated that there is an oversupply of all specialists, including anesthesiology. These studies take a "top down" view of health personnel through analysis of national statistics and exploration of subsets of the data by hospital size and rurality. This approach assumes that the databases of the American Hospital Association and the American Medical Association are accurate and do not take into account the presence of certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs), who are the predominant providers of anesthesia care in the smallest and most remote hospitals in the United States. We compared the 1994 master file of the American Medical Association with our local knowledge of the practitioners in the rural areas of Washington state and found numerous small errors. These errors of one or two practitioners made no difference to the analysis of practitioner groups with more than approximately five people, but in the most rural communities the erroneous presence or absence of a single practitioner made a significant difference.

1997

  • The National Health Service Corps: Rural Physician Service and Retention
    WWAMI Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 07/1997
    The National Health Service Corps (NHSC) scholarship program is the most ambitious program in the US designed to supply physicians to underserved areas, in addition the NHSC promotes long-term retention of physicians in the areas to which they were initially assigned. This study explores some of the issues involved in retention in rural areas.