First posted 7/27/11 on Health Blawg
The UnitedHealth Center for Health Reform and Modernization released a white paper today on Modernizing Rural Health Care. To quote from the UHG presser,
- [The paper] projects an increase of around 5 million newly insured rural residents by 2019 – even as the number of physicians in rural America lags
- Quality of care is rated lower in rural areas in 7 out of every 10 health care markets; both physicians and consumers in rural areas more likely to rate quality of care lower than those in urban and suburban markets
- Innovations in care delivery – particularly telemedicine and telehealth – can absorb future strain on rural health care systems
The paper inventories the current state of health care for the 50 million Americans living in a rural setting — and it’s not pretty. The question, of course, is why does rural health compare unfavorably to urban health metrics, and what can be done to improve matters?