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Healthcare Utilization, Deprivation, and Heart-Related Disease in Kentucky

From: Southeastern Geographer
Volume 47, Number 2, November 2007
pp. 202-221 | 10.1353/sgo.2007.0019

Abstract

Kentucky is a rural southern state with the third highest heart disease rate and one of the highest poverty rates in the country, a situation that often leads to decreased access to and utilization of healthcare facilities. We assess the relationship between patterns of healthcare facility utilization for heart-related disease and material deprivation for 2002 using data from the Kentucky Discharge Database, and explore the geographic clustering and possible overlaps among material deprivation, heart disease prevalence, healthcare facility utilization, and incidence severity. We find significant clustering of healthcare facility utilization in southeastern Kentucky that corresponds with high levels of socio-economic deprivation and high rates of heart-related disease mortality. The findings suggest the need for increased services and interventions to lower the risk and prevalence of heart disease and increased research to understand better who utilizes healthcare services and their relationships to gaps in service delivery and utilization.