Healthcare Selection of Older Migrants in Rural Communities: How Community Services and Attachment Effect Healthcare Bypass Behavior

Scott R. Sanders, Brigham Young University
Lance Erickson, Brigham Young University
Vaughn R. A. Call, Brigham Young University
Jacob S. Rugh, Brigham Young University

Net in-migration of older persons played an important role in the population and economic rebound of many rural communities in the United States. Because older migrants face increased health risks as they age, having access to quality and convenient healthcare is essential for older migrants. This research examines the factors associated with older migrant healthcare bypass, a behavior where patients travel farther than necessary to obtain healthcare. Using data from the Montana Health Matters survey, we find that the bypass rate for older migrants is double that of non-migrant older adults, and that migrant perceived satisfaction with local services and assimilation into the receiving community significantly affects bypass behavior. Because excessive rates of bypass behavior decreases the demand for local healthcare services, potential resulting in a “healthcare desert”, understanding the factors associated with older migrant bypass behavior can help to improve both the health and economic well-being of migrant communities.

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Presented in Poster Session 4: Migration and Urbanization; Population, Development and the Environment