The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) joins the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) to commemorate the National Rural Health Day on Thursday, November 16, 2017. This day is an opportunity to be informed about rural healthcare in America and to understand that Americans living in rural areas have significant health care needs including having limited or no access to health services and providers.
In Arizona, thirteen of our fifteen counties are rural where approximately 1.7 million out of 6.4 million residents reside. Most all rural areas of our State are federally designated as Health Professional Shortage Areas for medical, dental, and behavioral health. These provider shortages impact access to care leading to poorer health outcomes.
Our Primary Care Office helps rural and underserved communities improve access to care through programs such as loan repayment programs to incentivize providers to work in rural areas, sliding fee scale clinic programs so that low-income, uninsured, and underinsured rural residents can access health services at discounted rates, and community development programs that support the development of new access points for care or expansion of existing health centers in rural areas.
There are many ways to celebrate the National Rural Health Day. You can partner with your stakeholders in the rural community to host a community event, use social media to increase awareness of rural health care, collaborate with Arizona’s State Office of Rural Health to host an event or reach rural partners, and other meaningful ways to support and be a voice for rural health.