Mobile Clinics and the Opioid Crisis in Rural Pennsylvania

Authors: Matin Katirai*, West Chester University, Whitney Katirai, West Chester University, Harry Holt, West Chester University, Kathrine Nash, West Chester University, William Hendel, West Chester University, Elizabeth Britton Mendenhall, West Chester University
Topics: Medical and Health Geography, Rural Geography, Geographic Information Science and Systems
Keywords: Opioid, Access, Rural, GIS
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 4:40 PM / 6:20 PM
Room: Grand Ballroom C, Astor, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Pennsylvania faces an opioid crisis that affects not only urban regions of the state, but its rural regions as well. While the more urban areas surrounding major cities have treatment centers that are within approximately 30 minutes from the population, rural areas of Pennsylvania forming a “T” shape starting from North West and expanding to North East Pennsylvania, and cutting through Central Pennsylvania have limited access to emergency care.
There are approximately 47 million US citizens that live within rural areas that do not have access to trauma centers within a 60-minute radius(Branas et al, 2005). In addition, the response time to rural areas for medical attention is approximately 13 minutes longer than for urban and suburban areas, which can mean the difference between survival and death(Carr, Caplan, Pryor, and Branas, 2006).
In this study we identify through the use of GIS how mobile clinics are used to provide medical access to those who are seeking treatment in Pennsylvania. We also compare locations of mobile clinics to traditional MAT clinics and make recommendations for more adequate distribution of the resources based on need within rural Pennsylvania.
Results from our analysis indicate that mobile clinics are not reaching those who need the services the most. There are still major barriers to receiving care for this public health crisis and the implications of this knowledge suggest that those who seek emergency care and long-term treatment for opioids that live in rural areas of Pennsylvania do not have adequate access to care.

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