Immigrant Health in Rural Maryland: A Qualitative Study of Major Barriers to Health Care Access

J Immigr Minor Health. 2017 Aug;19(4):939-946. doi: 10.1007/s10903-016-0417-z.


Immigration to rural areas in new receiving communities like Maryland's Eastern Shore is growing. Despite a rapid rise in immigration and diminishing health system resources, little attention has been focused on barriers to health care access in this region for immigrants. A total of 33 in-depth key informant interviews with providers and immigrants were conducted. Qualitative analysis employing a constant comparison approach was used to explore emergent themes related to barriers to health care access for a growing immigrant population. Participants perceived limited health care resources, lack of health insurance coverage, high health expenditures, language barriers, and non-citizenship status as barriers to immigrants' access of health care. Findings imply that immigrants living and working on the rural Eastern Shore face serious barriers to health care access. Additional work on immigrant health in rural areas and the impacts of immigration to rural health systems are needed.

Keywords: Health care access; Immigrant health; Provider perspectives; Qualitative research; Rural health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Communication Barriers
  • Emigrants and Immigrants*
  • Female
  • Financing, Personal / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Services Accessibility / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Insurance Coverage / statistics & numerical data
  • Insurance, Health / statistics & numerical data
  • Language
  • Male
  • Maryland
  • Middle Aged
  • Qualitative Research
  • Rural Population*
  • Undocumented Immigrants
  • Young Adult