Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy

Integrated Care for Older Adults in Rural Communities

Abstract: 

With a focus on community-dwelling older adults in need of integrated physical, behavioral health services, and long term services and supports (LTSS), this brief reviews the opportunities and challenges reform initiatives under the Affordable Care Act present for rural communities. The authors assessed four types of organizational models for delivering integrated care management. Each of these models has different strengths and drawbacks, weighing for and against implementation in rural areas.

KEY FINDINGS:

  • Introducing an integrated care model in a rural community requires an investment in building relationships with local providers and adapting to local culture and services.
  • Integrated care models that cannot adapt to the local delivery system are more likely to face resistance from local providers and those they serve and potentially duplicate or displace existing rural capacity.
  • Most models of integrated care management have an inherent bias toward larger organizations and infrastructure. Most are built on an investment in health information technology and other systems and capacities.
  • The potential success of any integrated care model is limited by gaps in the continuum of health care services and long term services and supports available in a rural community.
  • “Wraparound” integrated care models can fill gaps in existing care coordination capacity, offering a flexible approach that can adapt to a local rural delivery system.   
  • An investment of public resources in shared supports can lower the cost of integrating care in rural delivery systems.

Suggested Citation:  Griffin E, Coburn AF. Integrated Care for Older Adults in Rural Communities. Portland, ME: University of Southern Maine, Muskie School of Public Service, Maine Rural Health Research Center; May, 2014. Research & Policy Brief PB-54.

To view or download the full study, please visit the Maine Rural Health Research Center website at http://usm.maine.edu/muskie/cutler/mrhrc-publications

Publication Type: 
Research and Policy Brief
Publish Date: 
May 1, 2014
URL: 
http://muskie.usm.maine.edu/Publications/rural/Integrated-Care-Rural-PolicyBrief.pdf

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Hartley Retires as Director of the Maine Rural Health Research Center

David Hartley, PhD

David Hartley, PhD, the Director of the Maine Rural Health Research Center (MRHRC) and a Research Professor of Public Health has announced that he will be retiring from the University of Southern Maine August 31st, 2014. David came to the University in 1994 and has directed the MRHRC since 2004. Andy Coburn, PhD, Research Professor of Public Health, will take over as the new MRHRC Director. Erika Ziller, PhD continues in her role as Deputy Director. David has had a distinguished career in rural health and rural health research, and has made lasting contributions to the field with his work on rural behavioral health, rural disparities and health, and rural active living.

A celebration will be scheduled in early fall to honor David and his many contributions to the field and the University.

 

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