Map of the Day: Access to Good Primary Care in America

I’m playing around with GeoFRED again while we all wait for the next three or four shoes to drop on the Jeff Sessions show. Here’s an interesting map: the rate of preventable hospital admissions. This is based on the number of hospital admissions for “ambulatory care sensitive conditions,” such as diabetes, asthma, and hypertension, which normally doesn’t require hospitalization if patients are being treated by good primary care doctors. Essentially, then, this map shows the places where good primary care isn’t widely available or isn’t doing its job.

What makes it interesting is that it doesn’t map all that closely to poverty. From Kentucky down to Louisiana, you have lots of counties with high poverty and a poor access to good primary care. But north of that you have the same thing even though poverty is relatively low. Out west, you have the opposite: a fair amount of poverty, but pretty good access to primary care. So what’s going on?