Improving Health Care Infrastructure to Rural Populations Key to Reducing Health Disparities
PHILADELPHIA–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Health disparities are often associated with race, ethnicity, and income. But the 60 million Americans who, according to the United States Census Bureau, live in rural areas1 face unique health care disparities of their own. These disparities must also be addressed to improve the quality of care and achieve health equity for rural populations.
Dr. Andrea Gelzer, senior vice president of medical affairs for AmeriHealth Caritas, a national leader in health care solutions for those most in need, notes rural populations face barriers to good health, including:
- Greater distances between communities, and therefore health care providers and other social services.
- A shortage of physicians, especially specialty care providers, practicing in rural areas.
- A lack of transportation options such as mass transit.
- A scarcity of large grocery stores in many small towns.
- Rural hospitals closing, further exacerbating the lack of health care options in these areas.