1. There are often fewer providers located in rural areas as less than 11% reside in this area of which holds about 20% of the population. This is due to lower salaries and geographical isolation from their peers. Normal provider to patient percentages run 1 to every 2000 people within the population as a average. But when in a rural area the odds are 1 to 3500. 66% of urban adults have utilized the dentist in this past year where only 59% were within the rural communities. Rural areas are in need of medical care more often that urban due to their low income populations and lifestyles that cause health issues (Georgetown, 2003).Disadvantages to consumers that live in rural populated areas can include issues being able to access their provider. Limited availability is an issue as most clinics are open 8am-6pm for office visits and the average working adult in the rural areas cannot afford to take off of work during those times. Office hours can be a huge issue for patients and their availability. Transportation issues can arise if patients are unable to drive due to medical reasons. There are nearly 3.5 million individuals that are unable to make their appointments due to lack of transportation.In order to lessen these issues access to more convenient care should be a priority. Patients would like the availability to access their care before or after work. Even having a triage line readily available for patients to call over the phone so they are not having to miss work. Telehealth provides a service for patients that can get medical treatment and not have to step foot into a medical facility. Providers can have extended hours past the normal working adults time during the day or provide a weekend service. Lyft and Uber services are offered now so that patients can have an affordable ride to their medical appointment (Health, 2018).Georgetown University. (2003). Rural and Urban Health. Retrieved from https://hpi.georgetown.edu/agingsociety/pubhtml/ru…Health, S. (2018). Top Challenges Impacting Patient Access to Healthcare. Healthcare organizations must look into convenient care options and other patient services to drive more patient access to healthcare. 2. Ancillary services refers to the wide range of diagnostic and support services provided to help the work of doctors and nurses. They fall into 3 broad categories: diagnostic, therapeutic, and custodial, examples of which are radiology, pharmacy, and home health, respectively(Ancillary Medical Solutions, 2014). When comparing ancillary services in rural hospitals to urban hospitals, there are notable differences. Rural hospitals tend to be smaller, less than one-third the size, than urban hospitals. Additionally, low-patient volumes make it difficult for these smaller organizations to manage the high fixed costs associated with operating a hospital complete with a full menu of ancillary services(American Hospital Association, n.d.). Factors such as low reimbursement rates, increased regulation, reduced patient volumes, and uncompensated care have caused many rural hospitals to struggle financially. Consequently, rural hospitals must be more selective in determining what ancillary services they offer and/or the level of ancillary specialists they employ. For example, many rural hospitals employ radiographers with two-year programs completed but will also utilize those individuals in other areas such as EKG testing and cardiopulmonary functions which are typically part of laboratory personnel’s responsibilities. Rural laboratories typically have a reference laboratory to which they send testing that cannot be performed on site. Therefore, the level of specialization and the type of services are both affected in rural areas(Fell, 2018).Some disadvantages to patients living in rural areas are reduced availability of specialized testing and treatment. As mentioned above, the costs for rural hospitals/treatment centers/clinics are not being reimbursed and, as a result, these organizations have to make adjustments to the services that are offered. This means that rural patients may have to travel to urban hospitals for specialized testing/care. As a health care leader, I would recommend bringing in the use of telemedicine as a method of increasing the services rural community hospitals are able to offer. Additionally, providing care in multiple specialized clinics may allow for more specialized care in these outlying areas without the additional costs of operating a hospital complete with the number of services you would typically see in an urban environment.
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