Health Leaders: CDC: 'Striking Gap' Separates Rural, Urban Health Risks

By John Commins

Two stories this month illustrate the dire needs and perilous status of healthcare delivery in rural America.

First, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a new report that shows that many of the 46 million or so people living in rural America, roughly 15% of the population, are more likely than their urban counterparts to die from five preventable diseases.

The percentages of potentially preventable deaths were all higher in rural areas than in urban areas. The findings were detailed in a new rural health series in CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Furthermore, unintentional injury deaths were 50% higher in rural areas than in urban areas, due in part to motor vehicle crashes and opioid abuse. Making matters worse is the challenge of accessing trauma care and emergency medical services in remote, sparsely populated areas.