Deborah Thayer

Maine Rural Health Research Center

Phone: 207.228.8587
Fax: 207.228.8138

University of Southern Maine
PO Box 9300
34 Bedford Street
Portland, ME 04104-9300

Publications - (10)


  • Opioid-Related Visits to Rural Emergency Departments
    Policy Brief
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 02/2021
    The purpose of this project was to compare rural and urban opioid-related emergency department visits. Data from the Nationwide Emergency Department Sample were used to examine rural and urban opioid-related visits over time and to compare the outcomes of these visits.


  • Acuity Differences Among Newly Admitted Older Residents in Rural and Urban Nursing Homes
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 11/2020
    This study found newly admitted residents of rural nursing homes were more likely to have cognitive issues/problem behaviors than those in urban facilities. Yet rural facilities admitted less complex older (age 75+) residents than urban, raising questions about the rural long-term services and supports system and capacity of rural nursing homes.
  • Telehealth Use in a Rural State: A Mixed Methods Study Using Maine's All-Payer Claims Database
    Rural Telehealth Research Center
    Date: 10/2020
    This study examines trends in telehealth use in Maine and identifies barriers and facilitators to its adoption. While telehealth appears to improve access to behavioral health and speech therapy services, provider shortages, lack of broadband, and restrictive Medicare and commercial coverage plans limit telehealth services use in rural areas.
  • Telebehavioral Health Use Among Rural Medicaid Beneficiaries: Relationships with Telehealth Policies
    Rural Telehealth Research Center
    Date: 09/2020
    This study assesses policy levers potentially supporting sustained use of telehealth services. Among rural Medicaid fee-for-service beneficiaries with behavioral health needs, engaging patients through informed consent within provider settings that receive facility fees may facilitate improved access to telebehavioral health services.
  • Health Care Use and Access Among Rural and Urban Nonelderly Adult Medicare Beneficiaries
    Policy Brief
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 01/2020
    Little is known about the characteristics and healthcare use of rural residents with disabilities. This study compares access to and use of health services among rural and urban nonelderly Medicare beneficiaries with a disability and the factors associated with rural access issues.



  • Patterns of Telehealth Use Among Rural Medicaid Beneficiaries
    Rural Telehealth Research Center
    Date: 10/2018
    This study uses data from the 2011 Medicaid Analytic eXtract (MAX) to examine the prevalence of telehealth use among rural and urban Medicaid beneficiaries, characteristics of telehealth users, types of telehealth services provided, and diagnoses associated with telehealth use.
  • Medicaid Income Eligibility Transitions Among Rural Adults
    Policy Brief
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 08/2018
    The Affordable Care Act allows Medicaid expansion to adults under 65 with income below 138% of poverty. Research suggests income shifts affecting Medicaid eligibility are common, but the rural impact is unclear. This national study examines rural and urban adults' annual income shifts above or below the Medicaid expansion eligibility threshold.
  • Residential Settings and Healthcare Use of the Rural "Oldest-Old" Medicare Population
    Policy Brief
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 03/2018
    This study used Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey data to profile rural/urban Medicare beneficiaries ages 85 & older. Rural adults in this age group are more likely to be disabled and live alone in the community or in nursing homes and less likely to live in assisted living facilities. Findings highlight rural needs for community-based services.