Earlier this week, United Health's Center for Health Reform & Modernization released a working paper, titled Modernizing Rural Health Care. It notes that in recent years, rural areas in the South and West are attracting both younger populations and new retirees - which isn't really a surprise to me.
The paper explores a broad set of issues and also presents new information on:
- empirical research on rural versus urban quality of care
- projections for rural Medicaid and insurance exchange 2014 coverage expansions
- state-by-state and county-level analysis of future pressure on primary care capacity
- models for rural care delivery and care coordination
- national consumer and primary care physician survey data
It also specifically addresses health information technology and telemedicine (Chapter 6). If you are a healthcare leader and have any responsibilities for rural health, I think this is a paper you should read.
One word of caution.... As I look at the map on page 6, I notice that many of the California counties are in black meaning that they have urban populations. However, many of these geographically large (compared to the counties in the east) do have vast rural and remote areas. This means that some of the large population centers in western states may skew some of the findings, so please keep this in mind during your review.