Understanding Rural Non-Emergent Emergency Department Use

Research center:
Project funded:
September 2019
Anticipated completion date:
May 2024

Research indicates that rural residents use the emergency department (ED) at higher rates than their urban counterparts, with recent analyses indicating that this rural-urban difference has been increasing. Additional studies suggest that rural residents are more likely to visit the ED for a non-emergent reasons. However, the reasons for these higher rates remain unclear. This difference could be the result of rural primary care access barriers, including availability of after-hours care, or could be related to lower education or other factors affecting knowledge of appropriate healthcare use.

This study will use the 2014-2017 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey to analyze the factors associated with rural versus urban residents' non-emergent ED use.


  • Rural-Urban Differences in Workers' Access to Paid Sick Leave
    Journal Article
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 02/2023
    The authors analyzed the prevalence of paid sick leave (PSL) among rural versus urban workers and found that rural workers had lower access to PSL than urban workers, even after adjusting for worker and employment characteristics, especially those who were Hispanic, lacked employer-sponsored insurance, and reported poorer health status.