Healthcare access

Research Findings

View publications, including policy briefs, working papers, and journal articles, on Healthcare access:


View one-page summary Recaps of key findings from the Rural Health Research Centers on Healthcare access:

  • Healthcare Access and Status Among Rural Children
    Date: 08/2019
    More than half (56.6%) of all rural counties in the U.S. do not have a pediatrician, which can have a negative effect on the health status of rural children. This Recap provides a summary of the research on pediatric health status, health outcomes, and access to care in rural areas.
  • Maternal Health Disparities: An Intersection of Race and Rurality
    Date: 10/2022
    In 2019, 30.8% of rural counties had no obstetric clinicians of any type. This Recap examines the loss of hospital-based obstetric services and racial/ethnic disparities surrounding maternal and infant health.
  • Opioid Use and Treatment Availability
    Date: 01/2018
    This resource examines opioid use in rural communities, as well as the perceived need for and utilization of treatment for opioid use disorder, based on a summary of the Rural Health Research Centers' most recent research.
  • Post-Acute Care in Rural Areas: The Role of Swing Beds and Nursing Homes
    Date: 03/2024
    Patients who have received acute care services, but are not ready to safely return home, may transition to post-acute care (PAC). The PAC phase acts as a bridge between the hospital and the next steps to recovery. This Recap examines the roles that swing beds and nursing homes have in PAC.
  • Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage Among Rural Children
    Date: 08/2019
    This resource examines pediatric insurance coverage, poverty rates, and Medicaid enrollment by race/ethnicity in rural and urban communities. The Recap also presents a summary of the research on the impact of coverage on rural access to care.
  • Rural Hospital Closures: 2023 Update
    Date: 06/2023
    From 2005 through 2022, 186 rural hospitals either closed completely or converted to facilities that no longer provide in-patient care. This Recap explores the current state of rural hospital closures in the United States.
  • Rural Obstetric Services: Access, Workforce, and Impact
    Date: 04/2019
    This resource presents current hospital-based obstetric closure rates and characteristics of rural communities without and losing obstetric services, as well as the impact of limited access on maternal and child health.
  • State of Rural Women's Healthcare Utilization and Health Indicators
    Date: 04/2019
    Rural women face barriers to accessing preventive health screenings, mental health services, and maternal healthcare. This Recap provides a summary of the research on rural women's utilization of healthcare services, maternal substance use, and other health indicators.
  • Travel Burden to Receive Health Care
    Date: 10/2022
    The average rural resident traveled 120% more miles per one-way trip to receive medical or dental care than the average urban resident, in 2017. This Recap explores travel burdens to receive care, including time spent in travel, distance traveled, financial burden of travel, public transportation use, and motor vehicle fatalities.


Access information on upcoming or archived webinars on Healthcare access.

Projects on this Topic

Learn more about the research questions guiding each study, the lead researcher for each, and when the Research Center anticipates releasing completed product(s) under each project.