National Rural Health Day is an annual observance that emphasizes the importance of rural America and promotes the need for accessible, high-quality health care. National Rural Health Day falls on the third Thursday in November each year and recognizes the efforts of those serving the health needs of over 60 million people across the nation.
The Alabama Department of Public Health’s Office of Primary Care and Rural Health (OPCRH), the Medical Association, the Alabama Family Practice Rural Health Board, the Alabama Hospital Association, the Alabama Primary Health Care Association and the Alabama Rural Health Association are proud to recognize the innovation, quality of care, and dedication of health professionals and volunteers in the state during National Rural Health Day 2018.
This year, Dr. Peter Strogov of Fort Payne, one of Alabama’s many fine health professionals, has been selected as a “Community Star” for his many contributions to health care in rural communities. The annual “Community Stars” publication honors and gives a personal voice to rural people, providers, advocates and communities across the country. His story will appear in the 2018 edition that will be available on the https://www.PowerofRural.org website, the official hub for National Rural Health Day and the Power of Rural movement, beginning Nov. 15.
Rural health care professionals, hospitals, county health departments, and clinics are dedicated to providing health care in Alabama’s 54 rural counties, which are home to almost 2 million people. These rural communities have unique health care needs and challenges, including the distance to the nearest health care facility. In addition, these counties have a population that is generally older, and with health conditions that require a greater need for health care.
Rural hospitals are the economic foundation of many rural communities, but they are being threatened with declining reimbursement rates and disproportionate funding levels that make it more difficult to serve their residents. The OPCRH is dedicated to addressing these issues through a number of programs, such as the following:
- Loan repayments for physicians, dentists and other health care professionals through the National Health Service Corps
- No-cost recruitment of physicians using a national recruitment and retention database
- Adoption of telehealth services to bring distant health care to the local community
- Designation of physician and dental shortage areas for federal assistance programs
- Assisting rural clinics in becoming certified to receive enhanced medical payments
In addition, OPCRH works closely with rural hospitals and safety net providers to identify problems and provide needed technical assistance and resources. More than 150 health care providers are presently working throughout the state under programs administered by the office, dispersed among the state’s 138 community health centers, 106 rural health clinics, and other providers. The OPCRH’s services are available to any rural health care organization that is dedicated to providing accessible, high-quality health care to its community.
Gov. Kay Ivey has issued a proclamation encouraging citizens to recognize the valuable services of rural health practitioners on this day.
To learn more, visit http://alabamapublichealth.gov/ruralhealth/