Rural health, healthcare disparities, physician and resource allocation, emergency department trends


Biochemistry | Life Sciences


Dr. Jane Toot


In the Journal of Health Services Research and Policy, access to health care was defined as, “The availability of an adequate supply of health care services and the individual’s opportunity to obtain health care when it is wanted or needed” (MacKinney, 2014). Current trends in rural emergency departments are trying to communicate a critical message about the fundamental problems with the distribution of health care services in America today and the inability to properly meet the definition above. In rural communities, patient complaints and behaviors demonstrate the pressing concerns of inadequate access to primary care, limited specialty care, insufficient mental health care services, and other concerns that adversely impact community health. In a population that is already shown to be older and sicker than their urban counterparts, these gaps can be catastrophic. These detrimental disparities are affecting health care outcomes in communities nationwide leading to the unintentional marginalization of the country’s rural population.

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