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CDC Study Highlights Health Issues in Rural Areas

Rural Americans are more likely to die from the top five causes of death — heart disease, cancer, unintentional injury, chronic lower respiratory disease and stroke — than their urban counterparts, according to a recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The study looked at rates of death in nonmetropolitan areas from 1999 to 2014. About 15 percent of the United States population, or 46 million people, live in rural areas.

In 2014, nearly one million Americans died from these five leading causes of death. That’s 62 percent of the total 1.6 million deaths in the U.S from these causes. About 70,000 deaths of rural Americans were potentially preventable, the CDC study found, including 25,000 from heart disease and 19,000 from cancer.

To help address the needs of Americans who live in rural areas, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan developed a Hospital Pay-for-Performance program for small rural hospitals. The program recognizes rural hospitals that show their value to the community by meeting expectations regarding care access, quality and effectiveness. For more information about Blue Cross’ Hospital Pay-for-Performance programs, click here.

To read the complete CDC study, click here.

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