Effect of Safety Net Providers on Ambulatory Care Sensitive Hospitalization Rates in Rural Counties

Research center:
Project funded:
August 2005
Project completed:
August 2009
Access to primary care in rural counties, particularly those with high concentrations of minority persons, is handicapped by two factors: proportionately more poor and uninsured persons, coincident with fewer health care providers. In this environment, safety net providers can have notable effects on population health, as measured by rates of ambulatory care sensitive (ACS) hospitalization. The purpose of the study is to determine if the presence of a community health center or rural health clinic reduces ambulatory care sensitive hospitalizations for children, working age adults, and older adults. A cross sectional design will be used, with rural counties as the unit of analysis. It is hypothesized that rural counties with a community health center or rural health clinic will have lower rates of admission for ACS diagnoses, and that these effects will be additive, that is, that a county with both types of facility will have the lowest rates.