Concord, NH – New Hampshire Hospital Association joins the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) and other state/national rural stakeholders in celebrating National Rural Health Day, Thursday, November 16, 2017.
NOSORH created National Rural Health Day as a way to showcase rural America; increase awareness of rural health-related issues; and promote the efforts of NOSORH, State Offices of Rural Health and others in addressing those issues.
Approximately 62 million people – nearly one in five Americans – live in rural and frontier communities throughout the United States. “These small towns, farming communities and frontier areas are wonderful places to live and work; they are places where neighbors know each other and work together,” said NOSORH Director Teryl Eisinger. “The hospitals and providers serving these rural communities not only provide quality patient care, but they also help keep good jobs in rural America.”
These communities also face unique healthcare needs. “Today more than ever, rural communities must tackle accessibility issues, a lack of healthcare providers, the needs of an aging population suffering from a greater number of chronic conditions, and larger percentages of un- and underinsured citizens,” Eisinger said. “Meanwhile, rural hospitals are threatened with declining reimbursement rates and disproportionate funding levels that makes it challenging to serve their residents.”
New Hampshire has thirteen Critical Access Hospitals throughout the state that support their communities by delivering high quality healthcare in very rural, underserved areas of the state. These hospitals are engaging in innovative programs like telehealth and electronic health records, that allow New Hampshire’s rural health providers to coordinate care, stay connected with each other and urban tertiary care centers.
“Our critical access hospitals work tirelessly to address the barriers that their patients face in accessing the healthcare they need when they need it,” says Greg Vasse, Program Director at the New Hampshire Hospital Association who runs the NH Critical Access Hospital Quality Improvement Network. “We collaborate with our State Office of Rural Health, rural healthcare providers and other rural health stakeholders to foster partnerships that improve the health status of the communities our critical access hospitals serve.”
State Offices of Rural Health play a key role in addressing those needs. All 50 states maintain a State Office of Rural Health, each of which shares a similar mission: to foster relationships, disseminate information and provide technical assistance that improves access to, and the quality of, health care for its rural citizens. In the past year alone, State Offices of Rural Health collectively provided technical assistance to more than 28,000 rural communities.
Living & Working in Rural Communities - What's it Mean to Patients and Providers?
Pat Nestor, Retired Airforce Veteran, gets his care at Separe Memorial Hospital - click here to learn more about why he chooses to get his care from one of New Hampshire's Critical Access Hospitals.
Michael Watto, MD, Speare Memorial Hospital Primary Care and retired military physician for the United States Army, lives and practices in rural New Hampshire, serving the area's underserved patients, including his fellow Veterans - read his story here.