Who Provides Mental Health Services to Rural Medicare Beneficiaries?
About 15 percent of older Americans face clinically significant depression at some point, and rural elders seeking care for depression or anxiety must do so in a healthcare system that is undersupplied with mental health specialists. Most rural counties in the U.S. do not have a psychiatrist and the ability/willingness of primary care physicians to treat depression/anxiety varies. This study will use 2014 Medicare Part B claims data to describe which providers (primary care physicians, psychiatrists, etc.) care for rural elderly patients with depression/anxiety and geographic variation in care provision.