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Hosp Health Serv Adm. 1996 Summer;41(2):255-65.

Considerations in establishing visiting consultant clinics in rural hospital communities.

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  • 1University of Iowa, Office of Community Based Programs, Iowa City 52242, USA.


Establishing specialty clinics staffed by visiting medical consultants is one way that rural hospitals can increase local access to specialty care. This example of private sector-driven regionalization of health care services typically involves an agreement among urban specialists, rural hospitals, and local primary care physicians. The urban-based physicians provide limited on-site specialty services in the rural community for patients who are referred by local physicians or self-refer to the specialty clinics. The trend toward formalization of regional relationships across large geographic areas prompts both opportunity and need for careful consideration of visiting specialty clinic arrangements in rural hospital communities. This article delineates advantages and disadvantages associated with the development of Visiting Consulting Clinics (VCC) along with some ┬┐ground rules┬┐ to consider when establishing this type of service.

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