Providing Primary Care in Rural America


Physicians in rural America share many similar challenges in their practices. They serve large geographic areas. Many of their patients are in poor health. And, perhaps most important, the people they serve often live below the poverty level.

As part of a project to understand the experiences of low-income patients, the Commonwealth Fund’s Shanoor Seervai interviewed physicians in rural communities to learn more about the hardships they see day-to-day. The doctors speak about their patients’ inability to pay for insurance or basic medical care; struggles finding affordable, healthy food; social and behavioral health issues; scarce economic opportunities; and a lack of specialty providers.

Solutions to these problems, Seervai writes, may lie in changing the way health care is delivered and paid for.  

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