Amazing things are happening in rural America. These small towns, farming villages and frontier areas are fueled by the creative energy of ordinary citizens who historically have been willing to step forward and take risks in order to provide a wealth of products and resources for the rest of the country.
They also continue to be places where everyone knows each other, listens to/respects each other and works together for the greater good.
Unfortunately, these communities face unique healthcare concerns: A lack of healthcare providers; accessibility issues, particularly in terms of transportation and technology; and affordability issues as the result of larger percentages of underinsured citizens and greater out-of-pocket health costs.
"We are like a lot of communities ... It's hard to recruit physicians in this area, but we do have a good staff of specialty physicians. We are an aging community so we have have some unique needs so we bring providers from Terre Haute, Bloomington and Indianapolis," Interim GCGH CEO Tim Norris noted.
Meanwhile, rural hospitals and health systems face declining reimbursement rates and disproportionate funding levels that make it challenging to meet the physical, social and economic needs of their communities.
These are just a few of the issues that Greene County General Hospital, the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH), and other local, state and national rural stakeholders hope to bring to light during the second annual National Rural Health Day on Thursday.
NOSORH created National Rural Health Day as a way to showcase rural America and increase awareness of rural health-related issues.
"National Rural Health Day gives NOSORH and its partners the opportunity to 'Celebrate the Power of Rural' and showcase the good works of America's 59.5 million rural citizens," notes NOSORH Director Teryl Eisinger. "It also allows us to highlight the unique healthcare issues being faced by rural citizens and promote the efforts of NOSORH, State Offices of Rural Health (SORHs) and their partners in addressing those issues."
SORHs in particular play a key role in addressing those needs, Eisinger explains. All 50 states maintain a SORH, each of which shares a similar mission: to foster relationships, disseminate information and provide technical assistance that improves access to quality health care for rural citizens.
"Together, these State Offices provide technical assistance to more than 28,000 rural communities each year," she said.
Events recognizing National Rural Health Day and "Celebrating the Power of Rural" will take place in every state throughout the nation the week of Nov. 11 to 17.
Additional National Rural Health Day information is available at celebratepowerofrural.org. To learn more about NOSORH, visit www.nosorh.org; and to learn more about Greene County General Hospital, visit www.greenecountyhospital.com .