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Rural health care in the U.S.: some solutions.

Kerr LE
Proceedings of the VII International Congress of Rural Medicine, September 17-21, Salt Lake City, Utah. International Association of Agricultural Medicine, 1978 Sep; :354-360
Issues in providing health care to rural populations in the United States (US) were discussed. Problems facing rural communities in the US were summarized. These include isolation, poverty, and a poor distribution of health care resources. An overview of attempts to deal with the problems of rural health care was presented. Health problems of rural populations in the US were reviewed. It was noted that the poor and minority populations, especially migrant farm workers and Native Americans, suffer disproportionately from ill health. Traditional rural occupations such as mining, lumbering, and agriculture are considered to be some of the most dangerous occupations in the US and the mortality rate for rural workers is almost twice that of urban workers. Except for hospital beds rural populations in the US have access to relatively fewer medical facilities and resources than urban populations. This situation is exacerbated by the fact that many rural communities face serious shortages of trained health care personnel and facilities. The functions of the Rural Health Council of Rural America (RHCRA) were discussed. The RHCRA is a national organization whose purpose is to improve delivery of health care to rural populations. The features of a national health care system that meet the needs of rural populations proposed by the RHCRA were presented. These include universal entitlement for all citizens; comprehensive coverage and benefits; financing by a progressive tax on income based on the ability to pay; an emphasis on preventive medicine; ending fee for service and profits; developing regional systems of care with a two way flow of health personnel and patients; and requiring all state, regional, and local health agencies to be responsible to elected boards of health that are made up primarily of consumer representatives. The author concludes that preventive services are far less expensive than curative services and therefore they should be the goal.
NIOSH-Grant; Grants-other; Health-care-facilities; Seasonal-activity; Medical-treatment; Agricultural-workers; Occupational-health-programs; Health-protection; Sociological-factors
Prev Med & Environmental Hlth University of Iowa Inst/agric Med & Environ Hlth Iowa Oakdale, Iowa 52319
Publication Date
Document Type
Conference/Symposia Proceedings
Funding Amount
Funding Type
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Priority Area
Other Occupational Concerns; Grants-other
Source Name
Proceedings of the VII International Congress of Rural Medicine, September 17-21, Salt Lake City, Utah
Performing Organization
University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division