In these communities, there is commonly a shortage of health professionals for primary and specialty care. More than 138 hospitals have closed in underserved and rural communities since 2010. These same communities also tend to have less capacity in terms of intensive care unit beds and infrastructure, further limiting access to care. The COVID-19 pandemic has elevated the attention and conversation about social determinants of health (SDoH) disparities in many underserved areas — especially about access to healthcare, support networks and physical environments.
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