Hills, ridges, mountains, and roads: geographical factors and access to care in rural Kentucky

J Rural Health. 1996 Fall;12(5):386-94. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-0361.1996.tb00806.x.


Access to health care remains an important issue facing many individuals. Barriers to health care include financial factors, characteristics of the individuals and of the health care delivery system, as well as geographical factors. Using a telephone survey of Kentucky residents, this study investigated the relationship between the road quality and county elevation and access to health care for individuals in rural and urban areas of the state. Controlling the comparison for known individual characteristics, community characteristics, and medical infrastructure characteristics, this study uncovered that worse road conditions, measured by a road "rideability" index, were associated with longer times to reach medical care. It also found an association between higher county elevations and shorter times to reach medical care.

MeSH terms

  • Catchment Area, Health*
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • Geography*
  • Health Services Accessibility / trends*
  • Humans
  • Kentucky
  • Mammography / statistics & numerical data
  • Physical Examination / statistics & numerical data
  • Rural Health Services / supply & distribution*
  • Transportation
  • Vaginal Smears / statistics & numerical data