Who Provides Mental Health Services to Rural Medicare Beneficiaries?

Research center:
Lead researcher:
Project funded:
September 2017
Project completed:
September 2020

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 used 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.