This study looked at where Medicare beneficiaries of five
states obtain their care, how far they travel for that
care, and the mix of physician specialties from whom they
obtain their ambulatory care. Findings from this study
suggest that rural residents do not rely on urban areas
for the majority of their care. Those living in small and
isolated rural areas have decreased geographic access to
healthcare providers, particularly specialists, and rely
heavily on generalists for the majority of their care.
Additionally, results of the study suggest that these
individuals have few visits overall and must travel
longer distances to access certain types of care. These
findings have policy implications for geographic
reimbursement differentials, telehealth networks, and
graduate medical education.