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Am J Prev Med. 1995 Jan-Feb;11(1):46-53.

Participation in health promotion programs by the rural elderly.

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Department of Health Services Administration, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA.


The Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) funded a series of demonstration programs to learn about the implications of extending coverage for disease prevention/health promotion services to Medicare beneficiaries. This article examines the use of such services by a rural population under this demonstration program. Individuals enrolled in the demonstration were eligible for specific risk reduction interventions. They were enrolled in one of two groups: (1) a hospital-based group in which hospitals were paid a capitated fee for providing all services and (2) a physician-based group in which physicians were paid fee-for-service for providing each service. Chi-square tests of association as well as logistic regression models were used to assess whether eligibility for services, and use of services by those eligible, varied by group and by sociodemographic characteristics. Forty-one percent were eligible for a nutrition program, 11% for smoking cessation, 2% for alcohol counseling, and 7% for dementia/depression evaluations. Participation in the programs varied across the programs and within programs by gender, education, and group assignment. Older rural Americans will use some disease prevention/health promotion services if they are covered by Medicare. Use will be higher among those with more education. Rural beneficiaries are more likely to use preventive services if encouraged to do so by their doctors rather than by hospital-based programs.

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