Alternative delivery systems in rural areas

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Alternative delivery systems, such as HMOs, PPOs, and primary case-management programs, have a long history in rural America despite significant impediments to their development. However, little is known about the effect of these systems on rural communities and their medical care delivery systems. Existing studies, which focus on rural HMOs, are qualitative in nature and generally are directed at identifying factors that facilitate or retard HMO development. Despite their limitations, the studies do raise a variety of issues deserving of quantitative analysis. Research is now needed that (1) investigates the effect of rural alternative delivery systems on the cost and quality of care received by rural residents, (2) assesses the effectiveness of different mechanisms used by these systems to contain costs, (3) estimates the effect of alternative delivery systems on rural providers. (4) determines the extent to which the presence or absence of alternative delivery systems influences physician decisions to locate in rural areas, (5) identifies factors that are important in consumer decisions to enroll or not enroll in a rural alternative delivery system, and (6) analyzes the diffusion patterns of these systems in rural areas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)849-889
Number of pages41
JournalHealth services research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 1989


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