24-Hour Crisis Hotline: (877)SAFEGBC or (877)723-3422 Mental Health & Substance Abuse Issues

6502 Nursery Drive, Suite 100
Victoria, TX 77904
(361)575-0611
(800)421-8825
Fax: (361)578-5500

Medical Disorders
Resources
Basic InformationLookupsLatest News
Pandemic Has More Americans Turning to BoozeStudy Confirms Minorities Face Higher Odds of COVID-19: StudyLockdown Could Worsen Hearing Woes for U.S. SeniorsWarming World Could Alter West Nile Transmission in U.S.Most Newborns of COVID-19-Infected Moms Fare WellCOVID Antibodies Found in Less Than 10% of AmericansCOVID-19 Patients Rarely Survive Cardiac Arrest: StudyLow Vitamin D Levels Tied to Higher Odds for Severe COVIDKids Much Less Prone to Coronavirus Infection Than Adults: Study'Silent' COVID-19 Produces as Much Virus as in Patients With Symptoms: StudyImmune System Clues to Why COVID Is Easier on KidsU.S. Coronavirus Cases Top 7 MillionAccuracy of COVID-19 Antibody Tests Varies Widely, Study FindsAmerica's COVID Pandemic Is Now Skewing YoungerEven If Hips, Legs Slim Down, Belly Fat Remains a Health DangerAfter COVID-19 Exposure, When Can Young Athletes Resume Play?Kids Who Need Steroids Face Risk of Diabetes, Other Ills9 in 10 Americans Not Yet Immune to COVID, CDC Director SaysCommon Heart Defect Limits Exercise Ability: StudyBlood Test Could Spot Those at Highest Risk for Severe COVID-19Singing Without a Face Mask Can Spread COVID-19Could Zinc Help Fight COVID-19?U.S. COVID Death Toll Hits 200,000 as Cases Climb in 22 States4 Out of 5 People With COVID-19 Will Develop Symptoms: StudyMany Health Care Workers Who Have Coronavirus Don't Have Symptoms: StudyAHA News: Cluster of Risky Conditions That Can Lead To Heart Disease Is Rising in Hispanic AdultsMinorities Hit Hardest When COVID Strikes Nursing HomesAvoid the 'Twindemic:' Get Your Flu Shot NowCertain Cancer Treatments May Heighten Danger From COVID-19Homemade Masks Do a Great Job Blocking COVID-19Having Flu and COVID Doubles Death Risk in Hospitalized PatientsGuard Yourself Against the Health Dangers of Wildfire SmokeLife Expectancy Could Decline Worldwide Due to COVID-19Potential COVID-19 Drug Could Increase Heart Risk: StudyU.S. COVID Death Toll Nears 200,000, While Cases Start to Climb AgainCDC Reverses COVID Test Guideline After ControversyAs Schools Reopen, Many Students, Staff Live With High-Risk Family MemberCOVID-19 Poses Added Risk for People With Addiction Disorders: StudyGetting a Hip Replacement? Choice of Hospital Can Be CrucialAlmost 90,000 Young American Adults Will Get Cancer This Year: ReportAnother Rapid COVID-19 Test Shows PromiseDetails Emerge on Unexplained Illness in AstraZeneca COVID Vaccine TrialRising Obesity Levels Put Americans at Risk During Pandemic: CDCMore Pets May Be Getting COVID-19 Than RealizedWildfire Smoke Poses Special Threat to People With AsthmaCOVID-19 Prevention Might Translate Into Record Low Flu Rates: CDCFor Stroke Survivors, Timely Rehab Has Been Jeopardized During PandemicCOVID-19 Has Taken a Toll on Organ DonationCOVID Conflicts Are Putting Big Strains on RelationshipsCoronavirus Vaccine Plan for Americans Announced
Questions and AnswersLinks
Related Topics

Diabetes

Rural Seniors Hurt by Lack of Medical Specialists

HealthDay News
by -- Robert Preidt
Updated: Dec 11th 2019

new article illustration

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 11, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- American seniors living in rural areas face a higher risk of hospitalization and death, and a lack of medical specialists may be the reason why, researchers report.

"People on Medicare with chronic conditions such as heart failure or diabetes who live in rural areas have higher death and hospitalization rates than their urban peers," said study leader Kenton Johnston. He's an assistant professor of health management and policy at Saint Louis University College for Public Health and Social Justice.

"The biggest reason for this appears to be that people in rural areas have less access to specialist physicians like cardiologists and endocrinologists," Johnston said in a university news release.

He and his team examined 2006-2013 Medicare claims data on patients in rural and urban areas with heart disease, diabetes and other chronic conditions, and compared that with hospital data.

Of the patients in the study, 10% lived in a rural area, defined as a town with less than 10,000 people.

Compared to urban patients, rural patients had a 40% higher rate of preventable hospitalizations and a 23% higher death rate.

Patients who saw a specialist at least once in addition to a primary care provider were 15.9% less likely to be hospitalized for a preventable cause and 16.6% less likely to die than patients who saw only a primary care provider.

The study appears in the December issue of the journal Health Affairs.

The findings have implications for all Medicare patients with chronic conditions, according to the researchers.

"Our research shows that all Medicare beneficiaries with chronic conditions -- urban and rural -- have lower death and hospitalization rates when they visit a specialist at least once annually," Johnston said. "Primary care is important, but it is not enough by itself; specialist care is needed as well."

The study authors suggested a number of ways to improve rural patient access to specialists, including: expanding telemedicine; incentives for physicians to practice in rural areas; higher pay for specialists who practice in rural areas; and bringing urban specialists into rural health systems on certain days.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more on rural health concerns.