Characteristics of Low-volume Communities

Research center:
Lead researcher:
Project completed:
February 2002

Currently, various categories of rural healthcare providers receive special payment from Medicare, principally because they are considered to be essential providers at financial risk due to their service areas. The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission is considering the possibility of creating a single category for healthcare providers based on low volume, and eliminating the various categories currently in use. An alternative to designating low volume providers is designating low volume communities in which we would expect all healthcare providers to experience the difficulties of supporting a low volume of services. This project will use Geographic Information Systems to develop criteria for designating low volume communities. The selection of communities using these criteria will be compared with communities selected using criteria based on providers, as developed by other Analytic Centers. The final product of this work will be a formula that can be used in legislation designating low-volume essential providers.


  • Health Services at Risk in "Vulnerable" Rural Places
    RUPRI Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis
    Date: 10/2002
    This brief discusses implications of a method to identify places in rural America at risk of being without healthcare services because they may lack a sufficient number of people to support a practice/provider, they are able to pay the full cost of care, or the population size/composition doesn't warrant the level of services currently available.