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service area

The territory within certain boundaries that an HMO designates for providing service to members. Since easy access into the health delivery system is a primary HMO tenet, it is generally believed that a member should not have to drive longer than 30 minutes in order to gain access to the system. Some HMOs establish a mileage radius from their medical delivery sites; some rely on zip codes; others use county boundaries in defining service areas.

Definition extracted with permission from American Academy of Family Physicians: Family Physicians and Managed Care

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12/7-10 AAAP