Center for Rural Health to Study Arizona’s Health-Care Safety Net System Under the Affordable Care Act.
The Center for Rural Health at the UA Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health has been awarded $166,000 by the Arizona Area Health Education Center.
TUCSON, Ariz. – The Center for Rural Health at the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health has been awarded $166,000 by the Arizona Area Health Education Center to study Arizona’s health-care system safety net under the Affordable Care Act. In separate studies, the research will address anticipated workforce shortages and provide a baseline for monitoring trends.
“We know the health-care system safety net in the state is going to experience stress in the next few years as a result of the Affordable Care Act,” said Joe Tabor, PhD, assistant professor at the UA Zuckerman College of Public Health and researcher at the Center for Rural Health.
“Our research will provide policy makers with an up-to-date summary of the health-care system safety net and health-care workforce supply and demand for Arizona with an emphasis on the medically underserved communities in rural and urban areas,” Tabor said.
The results of both studies are expected to be published in June 2014.
With the passage of the law, many of the resulting 600,000 newly insured people, including those covered by Medicaid expansion under the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS), will seek care through urban and rural community health centers. Since these centers frequently are the closest major facility and they are contracted with AHCCCS health plans, it easily could put a strain on the system.
With all the changes, Arizona’s critical access hospitals, rural hospitals, health clinics and rural pharmacies likely will experience an increased demand for services. As a result, these critical safety net resources may experience staff shortages and geographical inequities in service.
Co-investigators include Howard J. Eng, DrPH, and Dan Derksen, MD (UA Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health); Doug Campos-Outcalt, MD (UA College of Medicine-Phoenix); and Jason Shuffitt, DNP (UA College of Nursing).
The Arizona Area Health Education Center (AHEC) is an organization that supports activities that target workforce development to meet the needs of Arizona’s medically underserved rural and urban populations. AHEC is comprised of five strategically located regional centers and an administering home central office based at the Arizona Health Sciences Center.
The Center for Rural Health at the UA Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health was named 2013 Outstanding Rural Health Organization in the U.S. by the National Rural Health Association. Home to the Arizona State Office of Rural Health, the CRH partners with other state agencies and organizations to improve the health and wellness of rural underserved populations through service, research and education.
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Contact: Gerri Kelly, 520-626-9669