Do Communities Make a Difference in Access? A National Study

Research center:
Lead researcher:
Project funded:
September 2003
Project completed:
March 2012

This project will examine the effect of community-level resources on an individual's access to healthcare, particularly whether urban and rural individuals' access to healthcare differs, given community differences. If rural residents lack access to appropriate and needed healthcare services as a function of where they live, they may have lower healthcare utilization and, therefore, diminished outcomes. Lack of access may lead to a lack of preventive care, delays in seeking needed care, and other inappropriate healthcare use.

Community-level variables may limit healthcare access for low-income people, especially in rural areas. Community-level resources affect an individual's ability to use healthcare resources if the institutions that deliver healthcare are not accessible.

This project will use empirical research, differentiated at the urban and rural levels, to test the following hypotheses:

  • Access to care is affected by enabling, predisposing, and need characteristics of the individual, but also by community demand, community support community structure variables.
  • Community-level variables will play a more significant role in rural communities.

A policy paper and policy brief will be produced based on the findings.

There may be products related to this project; please contact the lead researcher for more information.