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Orthopedic surgery in rural American hospitals: a survey of rural hospital administrators



Orthopedic surgery in rural American hospitals: a survey of rural hospital administrators



Journal of Rural Health 28(2): 137-141



Rural American residents prefer to receive their medical care locally. Lack of specific medical services in the local community necessitates travel to a larger center which is less favorable. This study was done to identify how rural hospitals choose to provide orthopedic surgical services to their communities.All hospitals in 5 states located in communities that met the criteria for a rural town according to the Rural Urban Commuting Area codes were included. A survey with topics including community and hospital demographics, orthopedic surgical workforce and demand, surgical services, and the perceived benefit of orthopedic services was sent to the hospital administrators. Of the 223 rural hospitals surveyed, 145 completed the survey. Of those completing the survey, 3% had at least one full-time orthopedic surgeon, 25% did not provide any orthopedic surgical services, 65% never had an orthopedic surgeon on ER call, 33% were recruiting an orthopedic surgeon, 52% stated that it is more difficult to recruit an orthopedic surgeon vs a general surgeon, and 71% of the administrators acknowledged a need for additional orthopedic surgical services in their community. For those hospitals that did not have a full-time orthopedic surgeon, members of those communities traveled a mean distance of 55 miles for emergency orthopedic surgical care as reported by the hospital administrators.There are many rural communities that have limited access to orthopedic surgical services. While many of the rural hospital administrators feel that there is a need for additional orthopedic surgical services in their communities, it is difficult to recruit orthopedic surgeons to these areas.

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Accession: 036102930

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 22458314

DOI: 10.1111/j.1748-0361.2011.00379.x


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