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Rural America: Impact of Disability on Poverty and Health

Posted by on December 6th, 2019 Posted in: Public Health
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On Nov 14, 2019, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released the annual “Rural America at a Glance” report. The USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) issues this 6-page report. The ERS studies Rural Poverty and Well-being with a focus on the economic, social, spatial, temporal and demographic factors that affect the poverty status of rural residents.

Higher disability rates reported in rural areas and the SouthIn 2018, the ERS looked at the intersection of race/ethnicity and rural poverty. This year’s report looks at the intersection of disability and rural poverty. While employment is growing nationwide, there are low labor force participation rates in isolated rural counties. The population in these counties are older, less educated and are more likely to be disabled. This graph shows the distinct differences of disability in urban (metro) areas and rural areas.

According to ERS definitions, micropolitan counties are rural areas located near urban clusters of 10,000-49,999 persons. Noncore counties are more isolated and do not enjoy the benefits of nearby urban communities.

The 2013 American Community Survey estimated that 15.1% of the rural population have disabilities. As a result, these rural residents may not have adequate, reliable transportation. Not only does this impact employment and educational opportunities, but also access to specialized healthcare.

In a recent NNLM webinar, participants identified transportation as impacting health outcomes above lack of broadband, insurance and providers. If transportation is a concern in your area, please see the Rural Health Information Hub’s Transportation to Support Rural Health Care topic guide.

This guide includes information such as:

  • States are required to cover non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) to Medicaid beneficiaries who need transportation in order to access medically needed services.
  • Rural transportation providers who provide a fixed-route service are required to comply with ADA and be accessible. They must provide ADA complementary paratransit service for those individuals with disabilities who cannot use fixed-route service.

View Recording, Do Assignment and Earn 2 MLA CEs

On National Rural Health Day, we hosted a webinar entitled “From the Mountains to the Sea: Rural Health Issues and Resources.” Anyone interested in this topic may watch the recording and contact me for the assignment. Please email margot.malachowski@umassmed.edu. NOTE: there is a 10-second delay in the audio for this recording.

The assignment is due on January 7, 2020.

Image of the author ABOUT Margot M

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NNLM Region 7
University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School
55 Lake Avenue North
Worcester, MA 01655
(508) 856-5985

This has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine, under cooperative agreement number UG4LM012347 with the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School.

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