By Jordan Rasmussen, former staff member
Healthy rural residents help maintain and create vibrant rural communities. To achieve both, citizens, communities, and policy makers must recognize and address the unique health needs of the nation’s rural residents. National Rural Health Day, Nov. 15, 2018, is a day to celebrate the uniqueness of rural health care and those who innovate to help deliver equitable access and services.
Rural residents and providers work everyday to deliver quality health care and improve the overall wellbeing of their communities. This work is happening amidst the socioecomic and demographic realities of rural communities—nationally, they are older, experience greater levels of poverty, and have more chronic conditions. These demographics, when paired with extended distances to services, provider shortages, threats of hospital closures, and more uninsured residents, can make the delivery of health care a steeper challenge.
Yet, communities, providers, voters, and elected officials are working together to innovate and ensure that residents are gaining, not losing, access to the health care services and coverage they need and deserve. This was evident on election day when voters in Nebraska, Idaho, and Utah, expanded Medicaid coverage to thousands of uninsured rural residents in their states. These gains, and the successes happening in clinics and communities every day, are worthy of celebration on this National Rural Health Day.
To find out how your state office of rural health is celebrating National Rural Health Day and making a difference in rural health care delivery in your state, visit the National Organization of State Offices of Rural.