"Emergency departments are absolutely an essential service for the community," Schneider says. "We think it is really a crisis for rural America."
Other key findings:
- In 2008, 6.4 percent of all ED visits occurred in rural areas
- About 51% of EDs in rural areas are in critical access hospitals
- 56.2% of rural ED patients lived in ZIP Codes with the lowest median household income compared to 30.1% of non-rural ED patients
- About 44% of adult visits to rural EDs were either paid by Medicaid (28%) or uncompensated/billed to uninsured patients (almost 16.5%)
- Sprains and strains, contusions, abdominal pain, headache, and back problems were the most frequently treated conditions among adults in rural EDs
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Alexandra Wilson Pecci is a managing editor for HealthLeaders Media.