Urban/Rural Differences in Access and Barriers to Health Care for People with Multiple Sclerosis
ROBERT J. BUCHANAN, ALEXA STUIFBERGEN, BONNIE J. CHAKRAVORTY, SUOJIN WANG, LI ZHU, and MYUNGSUK KIM
JHHSA, Vol. 29 No. 3, (2006)
Context: People living in rural areas face barriers when
seeking health care, often experiencing difficulties accessing health
providers or facilities. Little is known about barriers to the use of
health care confronting people with multiple sclerosis (MS) in rural
Purpose: To identify any rural/urban differences in access and
barriers to health services, including MS-focused care, among people
Methods: The data were collected in a survey of 1,518 people
with MS living in all 50 States. The study included three geographic
subgroups: urban areas; adjacent rural areas; and more remote rural
Findings: We found significant rural/urban differences in
access and barriers to care among people with MS, especially for MS-
focused care. Significantly smaller proportions of people with MS from adjacent and more remote rural areas reported no difficulty
getting MS-related care than their urban counterparts.
Conclusions: Greater difficulty accessing MS-related care
experienced by people with MS in rural areas has negative implications
for the quality of the MS care they receive.
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