Title

Rural Health Departments: Capacity to Improve Communities' Health

Document Type

Presentation

Publication Date

11-4-2017

Description

Local health departments (LHD) serve a critical role in leveraging internal and community assets to improve health and equity in their communities; however, geography is an important factor when understanding LHD capacity and perspective. LHDs serve a critical role in leveraging internal and community assets to improve health and equity in their communities; however, geography is an important factor when understanding LHD capacity and perspective. Data were obtained from the NACCHO 2013 National Profile of Local Health Departments Study. LHDs were coded as “urban”, “micropolitan”, or “rural” based on Rural/Urban Commuting Area codes. Results demonstrate that rural LHDs differed from their urban counterparts. Specifically, rural LHDs relied more heavily on state and federal resources and have less access to local resources making them more sensitive to budget cuts. Rural LHDs also rely more heavily on clinical services as a revenue source. Larger rural LHDs provide more clinical services while urban health departments work more closely with community partners to provide important safety net services. Small rural LHDs have less partners and are unable to provide as many direct services due to their lack of human and financial resources. LHDs residing in urban communities were 16.6 times (95% confidence interval [CI], 5.3-52.3) and micropolitan LHDs were 3.4 times (95% CI, 1.1-11.3) more likely to seek PHAB accreditation than rural LHDs.

Location

Atlanta, GA

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