Examining the Legal Landscape in Rural America: Implications for the Healthcare Workforce, Access to Care, and Population Health

Research center:
Lead researcher:
Project funded:
April 2017
Anticipated completion date:
February 2018

Residents of rural areas often face challenges in accessing health care. Many rural areas are classified as Health Professional Shortage Areas because of a lack of available professionals to provide primary, dental, or mental health care. It has been suggested that the litigiousness nature of health care in the U.S. has had some bearing on healthcare workforce and availability of healthcare providers. This project explores whether there are any rural versus urban differences in the prevalence of malpractice claims, clinical privilege actions, and state licensure actions among health care providers, and how any such differences play a role in workforce availability and access to care. This work will also explore whether variations in nurse practitioner scope of practice laws affect rural residents differentially, especially with respect to preventive care.