The Sustainability of Rural Community Health Service Providers

Posted: January 20, 2011

The sustainability of health centers, a vital component of health care delivery services is analyzed in a report prepared by researchers at The Pennsylvania State University for the Center for Rural Pennsylvania entitled, The Sustainability of Rural Community Health Service Provider.

A combination of research complied from various health centers in Pennsylvania and secondary data found health centers’ primary responsibility was to act as a “safety net,” thereby allowing underserved communities access to healthcare.  The location of health centers act as dictators to what the services and populations they assist.  In rural areas the safety net function focuses on bringing care and supplies to areas with a small number of health centers, as opposed to urban settings where health centers provide services to low-income populations. 

Within the study they analyzed six critical differences between rural and urban health care centers including restrictions regarding the range of services provided, revenue portfolio variances and susceptibility to fluctuations in the economy.

The research concluded with a summery of findings concerning the sustainability of health centers including their facility to train and recruit capable workers, capacity to stay fiscally stable, and how well they are able to immerse themselves within the communities.

The report can be read in its entirety at the Center for Rural Pennsylvania website


Prepared by Addison Weinstein, research assistant to Dr. Theodore Alter