Rural Health News

Rural residents grapple with shifting long-term care system

Across the nation, Americans are making tough decisions about long-term health care for themselves and their loved ones. Access to a level of care that meets their unique needs can determine if families remain together, or if their loved ones will have to move miles away.

Long-term care facilities, commonly referred to as nursing homes, are crucial to providing a level of care that many families cannot offer to their loved ones. In rural areas of our country, accessing long-term care is becoming increasingly challenging.

Nebraska’s shifting long-term care system may leave rural residents out

Consistent with the nation, rural Nebraskans are aging at a faster rate than their urban counterparts. Unfortunately, a shifting long-term care system may leave them behind. Over the last decade, 23 long-term care facilities have closed across rural areas of the state. At the same time, 753 beds were lost – indicating a troubling shift for rural Nebraskans whose well-being depends on access to long-term care.

Stories from the coverage gap: Linda teeters on the edge

Knock. Knock. Linda, a retired woman in her sixties, comes to the front door of her rural Nebraska home on a rainy, summer day. She offered to let me in, wondering what had me out in the poor weather.

The door was just one that I approached when the Center for Rural Affairs joined the effort in gathering signatures for a petition to put Medicaid expansion on the public ballot. Our organization helped gather 105,000 signatures, and now Initiative 427 will be put before Nebraskans in a matter of days.

What if you vote yes on Medicaid expansion

For seven years, rural Nebraskans in the health insurance coverage gap have heard all the what if scenarios around Medicaid expansion. At the same time, they have dealt with the what ifs of purchasing their heart medication or putting food on the table. On Nov. 6, voters will have the chance to decide the best scenario for Nebraskans when they vote on Initiative 427.

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