Rural Health News

Top 5 of 2016: Rural Hospitals Closing at Rate of 1 Per Month

At an early age, Executive Director Brian Depew learned to care about his community and the world around him. In our second highest viewed post of 2016, Brian shares what we can do to keep our rural hospitals open and serving local residents

Rural Hospitals Closing at Rate of 1 Per Month

Rural hospitals have been closing at a rate of nearly 1 per month since 2010. The Southeast has been especially hard hit, as the map below shows.

Health care in uncertain times

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare, has not always been an agreeable issue. Some say it is expensive, while others say their lives have been saved by access to health insurance.

By looking at the numbers, we can see that the health care law is a tremendous benefit to this country.

Field navigators are trained to help people understand the basics of health insurance

“What in the world is a field navigator?” This is a question my family and friends asked me in October 2013, and I still get this question from people in my life and from those I encounter on a weekly basis. “Oh, you help people get insurance,” they say. Well, yes that’s part of what I do. However, there’s so much more.

Across the United States there are individuals called “assisters.” Community Action of Nebraska (CAN) applied for and received a federal grant that was disbursed to its agencies to employ assisters called “navigators.” I am employed with Northeast Nebraska Community Action Partnership, Inc. (NENCAP), and use the title “field navigator” in the work I do across Northeast Nebraska.

More than 2 million Americans are unable to access health insurance

Meet Blair Nelson. She recently went to the doctor for a physical and was forced to pay out of pocket, which took away money she had already allocated for other household bills.

Blair is a student, works part-time, and is one of more than 2.6 million American adults who are unable to access health insurance because she falls into the coverage gap. She makes too much income to qualify for Medicaid, but too little to be eligible for the tax credits that make private health insurance affordable.

In support of expanding Medicaid

In my work, l meet people who are unable to obtain health insurance on a regular basis. Due to lack of coverage, needed health care services are routinely delayed or denied in ways that significantly impact patient outcomes.

Such gaps in care are not only a threat to quality of life for thousands of individual Nebraskans, but also prevent our healthcare system from improving, and hurt our state’s economy.

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