Last updated on February 9th, 2023 at 09:58 pm
Access to healthcare is tied to better outcomes for many human health issues. According to a report by the USDA, healthcare access and health status are a particular concern in rural areas. Ideally, rural residents would be able to access services such as primary care, dental care, behavioral health supports, emergency care, and public health services, but those services are not equally available across the United States.
Rural residents more often live in medically underserved areas and need to travel further to access services. Additionally, people working in agriculture may not have access to health insurance, and if they do, they might have high deductibles or limited coverage policies.
Access to healthcare is important for maintaining overall physical, social, and mental health, preventing disease, detecting and treating illness, maintaining quality of life, preventing death, and extending life expectancy.
Barriers to healthcare result in unmet healthcare needs, including a lack of preventive and screening services and treatment of illnesses. A vibrant rural community is dependent on the health of its population. While access to medical care does not guarantee good health, access to healthcare is critical for agricultural populations to stay healthy.
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Page updated: July 2021