Approximately 16% (almost 1/5) of American population lives in areas defined as Rural. Rural residents often encounter barriers to healthcare that limit their ability to obtain the care they need. In order for rural residents to have sufficient access, necessary and appropriate healthcare services must be available and obtainable in a timely manner.
A vital rural community is dependent on the health of its population. While access to medical care does not guarantee good health, access to healthcare is critical for a population’s well-being and optimal health.
Barriers to healthcare in rural areas result in unmet healthcare needs, including a lack of preventive and screening services and treatment of illnesses.
Access to healthcare is important for:
- Overall physical, social, and mental health status
- Disease prevention
- Detection, diagnosis, and treatment of illness
- Quality of life
- Vibrancy and productivity
- Preventable death
- Life expectancy
Senator Chuck Grassley from Iowa states, “We need to take a thoughtful look at what the future of rural health care needs to be. We need to be willing to consider bold steps to ensure that rural America has access to high quality care.”
Elsie Crawford, RN BSN MHA
AAAASF Board Auditor
Want to learn more about National Rural Health Day and the Power of Rural? Visit powerofrural.org.