Reviews the state of the art of rural health research and evaluation in the U.S. with particular emphasis on the questions of access, health personnel, and financing. The current state of knowledge both in the published and unpublished literature in each area is summarized and a series of unresolved issues is proposed. A strategy for further research to include the various types of rural health care programs is described. Major findings suggest that, although rural populations do have somewhat less access to care than do urban populations, our ability to quantify precisely the extent and importance of this discrepancy is underdeveloped. Despite a substantial investment in a variety of rural health care programs there is inadequate information as to their effectiveness. Programs designed to increase the supply of health personnel to rural areas have met with mixed success. Sites staffed by National Health Service Corps personnel show consistently lower productivity than do sites under other sponsorship. Nonphysician personnel (physician assistants and nurse practitioners) offer a promising source of primary care for rural areas: recent legislation that reimburses such care should increase their utilization. A persistent problem is the expectation (often a mandate) incorporated into many rural health care demonstration efforts that the programs become financially self-sufficient in a finite period of time. Self-sufficiency is a function of utilization, productivity, and the ability to recover charges for services. In many instances stringent enforcement of the self-sufficiency requirement may mean those who need services most will be least likely to receive them.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||51|
|State||Published - May 1979|