Safety Net Clinics Serving the Elderly in Rural Areas: Rural Health Clinic Patients Compared to Federally Qualified Health Center Patients


Uses data extracted from 2009 Medicare outpatient provider claims to look at the location of clinics, the number of beneficiaries served, and the number of and cost per claim for each type of rural safety net clinic. We further examined characteristics of Medicare beneficiaries comparing their age, the health problems for which they sought care, and the distance they traveled to obtain care. Because Rural Health Centers (RHCs) and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) are similar in mission but may be different in practice, understanding their respective Medicare patient profiles is important. This findings brief is the third and final in a series on RHCs which draws on a large, national dataset that includes claims data on the approximately 90% of RHCs that billed Medicare in 2009.

North Carolina Rural Health Research and Policy Analysis Center
Andrea Radford, Victoria Freeman, Denise Kirk, Hilda Howard, Mark Holmes