Rural communities have unique health-care needs: accessibility, a lack of providers, the needs of an aging population suffering from a greater number of chronic conditions, and larger percentages of people without health insurance or enough insurance. On top of that, rural hospitals – many of which are local economic linchpins – struggle with declining government reimbursements and the lack of Medicaid expansion in many states.
For these reasons and more, the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health observes each third Thursday of every November – this year, Nov. 15 – as National Rural Health Day. “First and foremost, National Rural Health Day is an opportunity to ‘celebrate the power of rural’ by honoring the selfless, community-minded, can-do spirit that prevails in rural America,” NOSORH says. “But it also gives us a chance to bring to light the unique healthcare challenges that rural citizens face – and showcase the efforts of rural healthcare providers, state Offices of Rural Health and other rural stakeholders to address those challenges.”