MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — People living in rural Minnesota have less access to health care than city residents. That finding comes in a study commissioned by UnitedHealth Center for Health Reform and Modernization, a Minnetonka-based insurer.

“Perhaps not surprisingly the availability of specialty services and primary care is lower in rural parts of Minnesota,” said Simon Stevens, chairman of UnitedHealth Center.

The report says there are only 76 primary care physicians per 100,000 rural Minnesota residents compared to 122 physicians per 100,000 urban and suburban Minnesotans.

Rural patients report an average distance of about 60 miles between their primary care physician’s office and a specialist’s office.

The study offers some remedies.

“A stronger role for nurse practitioners — those are skilled nurses who provide care in rural clinics or in doctors’ offices and the other would be making more use of new technology,” Stevens said.

Nearly half of rural doctors nationwide expect to see a shortage of physicians and mid-level health professionals in the coming years.

WCCO’s Bruce Hagevik Interviews Simon Stevens

Comments (9)
  1. The Outdoorsman says:

    Wow. Brilliant.

    How many millions of dollars went into this fantastic study that found out people further away from hospitals have less access to health care than those closer to hospitals?

    Thanks so much for finding this fantastically hidden gem of information.

    What kind of idiots are these?

    1. Don says:

      My thoughts exactly.
      They are also farther away from Shopping Malls too.
      I did that study for free :).

  2. Randy says:

    We need to allow the entitlements out of the inner city, they need them in the rural areas also!

    1. Jim says:

      What in the wide world of sports does this story have to do with entitlements? Oh, that’s right, it has absolutely nothing at all to do with entitlements. I guess some people are just so entrenched in their world view that they can turn any story or statistic into “evidence.”

  3. Jake says:

    This is a shock. I bet a study might also find that rural folks also have less access to professional sports teams, gimongous shopping malls, and ethnic restaurants. They do, however, have better access to fresh air, wide open spaces, congestion-free roads, and low-crime rates. Don’t forget the cow-tipping opportunities, either.

    1. Jim says:

      When I go to the country I notice more opportunities for smelling manure. I think some insurance company should study this phenomenon as well. We need to get to the bottom of it!

  4. Mel says:

    I agree with the comment about spending money on this study. Of course there is a shortage of physicians in rural areas. However, I don’t think NP’s will make up for a physciain. I don’t claim to know how to attract physicians to these underserved areas, but there is a definate shortage. I live in the far western part of the state and end up traveling to Minneapolis for a health problem. It really is a hassle to be on the road for about 8 hours (RT) just for an appointment but what do you do?

  5. Redneck Purist says:

    It’s as plain as the nose on Henry Waxman’s face. This is a racist conspiracy by blacks against white rural farmers. Grab your pitchforks and meet me at the capital tonight. We must right this travesty of social injustice! Who’s with me!?!?!

  6. kman says:

    Wow when did this Happen oh thats right its always been that way Guess the Doctors want to be By People so they can make some money they do get Payed more by the more people they see

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