Tag Archives: rural disability

America at a glance: Early fears realized as COVID-19 surges in rural counties

COVID-19 has arrived in rural America. Indeed, the worst outbreaks in October 2020 were in counties with populations less than 50,0001. We knew it was coming2, and yet communities are unprepared to face the significant challenges of caring for COVID-19 patients.

US map showing difference between estimated need for COVID-19 ICU beds and beds available across US counties.
Map of the U.S. showing the difference between expected need for ICU beds and local availability by county. Larger map and text description below.

Risks and impacts of COVID-19 are not distributed evenly. This is especially true for people with disabilities and rural residents who face significant challenges to accessing healthcare. For COVID-19, risk increases with advanced age (aged 65 and older), congregate living such as nursing homes and long-term care facilities, and for individuals with several health conditions including asthma, diabetes, blood disorders, serious heart conditions, severe obesity, and for those who are immunocompromised3. Many of these conditions are reported at higher rates among the population of people with disabilities, placing them at higher risk of COVID-19 related complications4.

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RTC:Rural recognized in federal informational bulletin on rural housing and accessibility

first page of the Join HHS, HUD, and USDA Informational Bulletin

On August 19, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a joint Informational Bulletin titled: “Living at Home in Rural America: Improving Accessibility for Older Adults and People with a Disability”.

The bulletin shares information about federally-funded resources that can help people with disabilities and older adults, especially those living in rural areas, to remain in their homes and communities. The bulletin shares these resources with state Medicaid agencies, state and local housing agencies, state and local public health agencies, and other health and housing entities.

ACL- Administration for Community Living

RTC:Rural’s rural independent living and community participation research is mentioned on page 11 in the section about the Administration for Community Living (ACL). For over 30 years, we have been funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR).

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Do you provide personal assistance services to rural people with disabilities? We want to hear your story!

PAS workers in Alaska, Arizona, and Montana: share your experiences

A caregiver helps a person with physical disabilities eat.
From Healthy Community Living (www.healthycommunityliving.com).

RTC:Rural is partnering with the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Health Workforce Research Center on Long-Term Care to identify the supports needed for personal assistance services (PAS) workers (also known as personal care attendants, or PCAs) in underserved rural communities.

To help better understand PAS worker experiences, the Rural Personal Assistance Worker Project Team is recruiting PAS workers in Alaska, Arizona, and Montana to take pictures of their daily work experiences.

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Skilled Nursing Facilities in Rural Communities: Opportunities for partnering on COVID-19 response efforts

Guest blog post by Dr. Meg Ann Traci, RTC:Rural Knowledge Broker


The devastating and disproportionate rates of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and deaths in institutional settings continues to be part of the national crisis. With data from the 23 states that publicly report data on deaths within long term care facilities, such as nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities and assisted living facilities, the Kaiser Family Foundation estimates more than one in four COVID-19 related deaths in those states (27%) occurred in such settings. The threat within these medical and personal care settings put people with disabilities and others unable to maintain and manage independence in the community, at increased risk. In rural areas, the threat to such institutionalized populations is likely even greater.

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Share your COVID-19 story

How has COVID-19 impacted you and your rural community?

COVID-19 molecule

RTC:Rural is collecting real stories from real people in rural places who are impacted by the current COVID-19 pandemic.

We want to help shed light on what is actually happening in the lives of people with disabilities from the perspectives of consumers, family members, caregivers and service providers. We feel the uniqueness and complexity of individual stories are important to share. The needs of rural people with disabilities should be considered in efforts to address the impact of COVID-19.

Contact us if you are interested in creating and sharing real stories! Our staff can set up an interview time and format that works well for you. Participants can choose whether or not to remain anonymous in the stories we share together.

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Disability Statistics Compendium recordings now available

Christiane von Reichert, Lillie Greiman, and Catherine Ipsen at the 2020 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium event in Washington DC.
Left to right: Christiane von Reichert, Lillie Greiman, and Catherine Ipsen.

On February 11, 2020, RTC:Rural Director Catherine Ipsen and Research Associate Lillie Greiman presented as part of a panel at the Annual Disability Statistics Compendium. Their presentation was titled “Uncovering the intersection of rural and disability.”

Christiane von Reichert, professor of Geography at the University of Montana and a RTC:Rural research partner, was also part of the panel. Her presentation was titled “Using the ACS PUMS to examine disability and migration.”

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New article- How proposed SSDI changes may impact rural people with disabilities

screen shot of a map of the US showing locations of Social Security Administration offices in every state. Click on the image to link to the article.

Project Director Lillie Greiman and RTC:Rural Director Dr. Catherine Ipsen recently co-authored an article in The Conversation about proposed changes to disability benefits and how those could make it harder for people with disabilities, especially those in rural communities, to maintain federal benefits.


Read the article here:

February 7, 2020: How Trump’s proposed benefits changes will create hardship for rural people with disabilities


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Research Snapshot: Exploring Rural Disability Onset

RTC:Rural’s previous research has found that people who live in rural areas begin to experience disability from mobility, cognitive and sensory impairment as much as 10 years before people in urban areas. There are also higher rates of disability in rural areas across all age groups. We have also found that racial and ethnic minorities experience the highest disability rates as well as the greatest urban/rural differences.

While some people are born with a disability, most disability is acquired. This can happen suddenly by injury or slowly by chronic disease. Healing, disease course and medical treatment, underlying causes of disability, often fluctuate. This means people do not always report disability consistently over time.

In order to understand urban/rural differences, RTC:Rural is conducting research to understand how disability evolves in rural and urban areas.

Bryce Ward, RTC:Rural Statistician, explains the project and its goals, and gives a quick progress update.

Map of 2015 OMB County Designations. Click on map to link to web page with full text description and file for download.

Map of 2015 OMB County Designations showing urban and rural counties across the United States. Click on the map for a full text description and for a larger, downloadable version. To browse or download the data this map was created with, use our Disability Counts Data Finder tool.
Map produced July 2017.

 
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Visualizing disability data through maps: RTC:Rural’s state map series

Image of the people with disabilities: Alabama map on top of a background of other maps of Alabama showing different disability data.
Click on the image to view disability maps for the state of Alabama.

RTC:Rural’s Disability in America State Profile Map Series is well underway! We have maps for 17 states posted on the website so far, and more are coming soon. In the next two months general disability maps for every state (for example, Montana and Texas) and Puerto Rico will be complete and available on the RTC:Rural website. Once the general disability rate maps are completed, we will work to produce maps showing different topics for each state. These include:

  • Disability rates among females and males
  • People with vision, cognitive, mobility, self-care, and Independent Living difficulties
  • Veterans with disabilities
  • People with disabilities in poverty
  • Employment, unemployment, and out of labor force rates among people with disabilities
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RTC:Rural fact sheet explores insurance coverage rates before and after ACA and Medicaid expansion

Screenshot of the first page of the ACA and Medicaid Expansion Associated with Increased Insurance Coverage for Rural Americans with Disabilities fact sheet.

The passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and adoption of Medicaid expansion was associated with substantial increases in insurance coverage across the United States (see Changes in coverage and access, MACPAC 2019). However, RTC:Rural researchers wanted to know how ACA policy changes and Medicaid expansion impacted people with disabilities, particularly those who live in rural areas.

To explore this question, RTC:Rural researchers analyzed microdata from the 2008-2013 American Community Survey from IPUMS-USA. Using these data, they were able to compare how insurance coverage has changed over time for people with and without disabilities in rural and urban places, and in expansion and non-expansion states.

Graphic sharing stats from analysis, which are in previous paragraphs.
[text description] The number of rural people with disabilities with health insurance in expansion states increased by 10.7%. The number of rural people with disabilities with health insurance in non-expansion states increased by 5.3%. Difference = 5.4%.
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