Use and Performance Variations in U.S. Rural Emergency Departments: Implications for Improving Care Quality and Reducing Costs


The purpose of this brief is to describe the geographic variation in the use of emergency departments (EDs) for non-emergent health conditions across rural and urban areas as well as by U.S. Census Regions. Potential risk factors including patients' socioeconomic characteristics, geographic location and level of primary care resources are identified. Quality of care indicators, limited to wait times and the length of the visit for rural and urban EDs, are also addressed.

North Dakota and NORC Rural Health Reform Policy Research Center
Yvonne Jonk, Marilyn Klug, Gary Hart