Roughly 20 percent of the United States population lives in rural areas. Despite this, rural America faces a number of health-related challenges, some of which are structural, while some are related to regional differences in health and health care in this country. Compounding these issues, incomes are lower and poverty rates are higher in many rural areas (USDA, 2018).
In a recent analysis, we found that most MSSP covered lives occur in urban environments, but the largest relative growth (analyzing 2015 against 2016) has actually occurred in rural areas.
Despite rapid growth in recent years, when diving in deeper to assess rural ACO financial performance, the numbers did not necessarily show the same trend. Rural ACOs tended to have worse financial performance and worse care model coordination than urban ACOs.