Dee Jepsen – Agricultural State Safety and Health Leader
National Rural Health Day is Thursday November 21, 2019. This day brings attention to the unique challenges the rural communities face when it comes to health services and healthy people. This year’s theme is Plug into the Power of Rural.
When it comes to health care services, 50% of Ohio counties are designated as Governor’s certified shortage areas. There are 44 counties, or regions within counties, considered underserved.
Rural communities do not see the same health advancements as urban counties. Within these areas residents face accessibility issues and an overall lack of providers. Access to ambulatory and emergency medical services are especially critical in rural America, where only 20% of the nation’s population lives but where the majority of trauma deaths occur. The opioid crisis can also affect rural communities’ need for first-responder services.
Rural residents are typically an aging population suffering from a greater number of chronic conditions. Another statistic about rural Americans is that a large percentage are uninsured or underinsured when it comes to health care.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates rural areas have a 50% higher rate of unintentional injuries than in urban areas. There are increased injuries from falls, motor vehicle crashes and drug overdoses.
In Ohio, rural health care is a critical topic. The one-day celebration of National Rural Health Day allows individuals and organizations to rally behind the valuable services provided to the rural communities. Collectively these activities are designed to improve the quality of life for rural Americans and sustain our rural communities as wonderful places to live and work.