Year of Publication

2011

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Thesis

College

Agriculture

Department

Agricultural Economics

First Advisor

Dr. Alison Davis

Abstract

This study examines the underutilization of rural hospitals in Kentucky. The authors study hospital and patient characteristics to determine why and how rural patients bypass local rural hospitals and how they make their decision in the hospital choice. A Health Care Service Survey conducted in rural Kentucky and hospital data drew from American Hospital Directory are used. A binary probit model and a conditional logit model are applied. The results suggest that the hospital quality, prior experiences and the satisfaction of the local hospital, along with patients’ value of hospital size, reputation and patients’ insurance coverage influence rural patients’ hospital choice. The study offers seven policy implications to better utilize rural health care institutions.

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