The health of rural America is failing and our traditional approaches have proved ineffective at improving health in rural communities. Rural populations are now a health disparity population, facing higher mortality rates for the 5 leading causes of death compared with their urban counterparts. We must generate novel, rural-specific approaches to solve this challenge-and there is a clear role for the field of emergency medicine. Building on emergency departments' (EDs') expanding role in health care delivery and emergency medicine's increasing involvement in population health, we propose a new health care delivery model for rural population health based on partnership between emergency medicine and primary care that embraces the important role that EDs play in rural areas.
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