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Rural Medicare Patients Less Likely To Receive Proper Follow-Up Care

Hospital room
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Note: This is a rebroadcast  

Visiting the hospital in a rural area can be a challenge for Medicare patients because of scattered locations and a lack of healthcare professionals. But returning to the hospital for a follow-up visit is even more difficult, according to a new study from researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

The report shows Medicare beneficiaries in rural settings are 19 percent less likely to receive adequate follow-up care within 30 days compared to patients in urban areas. This may lead to a higher risk of readmission and more emergency department visits for Medicare beneficiaries discharged from rural settings.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Matthew Toth, a public research health analyst from RTI International. Toth is lead author of the study and conducted the research as a doctoral student at UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health.

Charlie Shelton-Ormond is a podcast producer for WUNC. His fascination for audio storytelling and radio journalism began as a broadcast major at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He began his career as a reporter for Carolina Connection, UNC’s student-led radio news show, where Charlie’s work won multiple Hearst Journalism Awards.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.