rural healthcare

20% of the Population Lives In Rural, Less Accessible Areas – Part 2 of a Series

  • px3med
  • Healthcare Challenges, Medical Staff Shortage
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You may not be aware, but 20% of the US population lives in rural, less accessible areas.

Consequently, it takes a very special kind of person to dedicate a chunk of their professional life to working in the remote countryside.

Only 10% of physicians are actually working in these rural areas.

This contributes to the fact that rural populations experience a less than advantageous primary care doctor to patient ratio.

We are looking at 1 primary care doctor to 3,500 patients.

Consider that when you imagine what securing an initial consultation would be like.

If you live in an urban area the ratio is 1:2300, so imagine the difficulty in accessing appointments and treatment.


  • The demographic is usually older than the norm
  •  General health levels are poorer than in more affluent urban areas
  •  One of the challenges with rural area is a sparse and scattered population.
  • Accessibility issues due to transportation
  • Life expectancy is lower Less insurance coverage
  • Socio economic considerations are significant with examples of extreme poverty
  • There are considerable clusters of racial or ethnic minorities
  • Inevitably, amenities urban dwellers take for granted are in short supply.

This suggests that many in these very rural areas are quite vulnerable on a number of levels.

With language and cultural barriers sometimes an obstacle to communication, relationships between providers and the population can appear distant.

In addition, with fewer physicians available then visits to medical facilities can be infrequent. This means preventative programs are less successful. Consequently, costs escalate.

In general, it would be safe to say that overall, health levels are poorer.

With insurance take up lower and salaries much lower, medical bills are often written off and hospitals and clinics must bear the costs themselves. In the past decade or so 132 hospitals located in rural areas have closed.

The New England Journal of Medicine suggests that practicing rural physician numbers will fall by over a quarter in less than a decade.

This is something that needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency. PX3 believes that now is the time to increase numbers in training and also rebrand the career as a rural health care professional.

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Author: px3med