Ethics of rural health care

Laurie J. Lyckholm, Mary Helen Hackney, Thomas J. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


One quarter of the US population live in areas designated as rural. Delivery of rural health care can be difficult with unique challenges including limited access to specialists such as oncologists. The Rural Cancer Outreach Program is an alliance between an academic medical center and five rural hospitals. Due to the presence of this program, the appropriate use of narcotics for chronic pain has increased, the number of breast conserving surgeries has more than doubled and accrual to clinical trials has gone from zero to nine over the survey period. An increase in adjuvant chemotherapy has been noted. The rural hospitals and the academic center have seen a positive financial impact. The most prominent ethical issues focus on justice, especially access to health care, privacy, confidentiality, medical competency, and the blurring of personal and profession boundaries in small communities. As medical care has become more complex with an increasing number of ethical issues intertwined, the rural hospitals have begun to develop mechanisms to provide help in difficult situations. The academic center has provided expertise and continued education for staff, both individually and within groups, regarding ethical dilemmas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-138
Number of pages8
JournalCritical Reviews in Oncology/Hematology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Care of the poor
  • Cost analysis
  • Medically under-served
  • Rural
  • Strategic alliances

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology


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