Community-Oriented Primary Care in Rural Areas: A Case Study of Kearny County Hospital
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Social determinants of health have long been established components of patient outcomes, to the extent where occasionally an individual’s position on the social gradient proves a greater predictor of health than physical risk factors. Systemic isolation of social and medical services as entirely separate entities often results in gaps of care, while, in contrast, their integration serves to narrow health disparities. In rural communities, these health inequities are far more substantial. This thesis focuses on Kearny County Hospital, located in rural southwest Kansas, as a case study of a hospital’s local impact through its identification of needs and initiation of relationships with potential community partners. Based on evidence gathered from a review of existing literature, this thesis also examines how KCH incorporates specific practices and values as well as their impact on community health. Also discussed is the potential of implementing a similar care model throughout other rural communities.