grain silo and bins of hay in rural area
Allied News July 27, 2018

The Fight to Save Rural Hospitals

Rural hospitals are often a lifesaver for patients who live in more remote areas, far from the nearest city hospital. Each year, Congress decides the fate of Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) across the United States by determining how much funding each facility receives.

Hospitals and other health centers that don't receive adequate funding are often forced to close, taking hundreds or thousands of rural hospital jobs with them.

Connect with a recruiter at Club Staffing to discuss rural hospital job opportunities off the beaten path.

Rural Hospitals Are A Critical Part Of Infrastructure For Many

Many individuals who enjoy a quieter lifestyle away from the hustle and bustle of urban areas may find themselves far away from the nearest urban hospital. This can be a problem if there's a medical emergency; during these times, minutes are critical and may mean the difference between life and death.

A rural hospital located closer to such individuals saves lives

Heidi Schultz oversees the rural health program with the Helmsley Charitable Trust. Part of her job is to help rural healthcare organizations apply for grants. This is an area that's quickly changing as more rural hospitals close and rural healthcare jobs become scarcer as a result.

For many rural communities, a hospital can be vital to the success of the local economy because of how many jobs it provides. Closing rural hospitals threatens the livelihood of the people living there, but there are real challenges to keeping them open, as Schultz points out: They're expensive to operate, and it can be hard to find qualified staff in more remote locations.

In 2016, the US Census Bureau reported that 19.3 percent of the population lived in rural areas, and these places are usually served by critical access hospitals, which:

  • • Have 25 or fewer beds
  • • Are located more than 35 miles from another hospital
  • • Provide 24-hour emergency services

 

The National Rural Health Association says that 673 rural hospitals are at risk of closing in 2018, and of those, 210 are classified as being at an "extreme risk" of closing.

The Fight To Keep Rural Hospitals Open

Within South Plains Rural Health Services, located in Texas, there are 73 community health centers with over 460 clinic sites.

This organization relies heavily on annual or biannual federal funding — without it, more than 9 million patients lose access to vital healthcare services and 50,000 medical professionals lose jobs.

When nurses and other medical professionals take rural healthcare jobs, there is a general sense that they are truly doing good things for a population that is in need of quality health care.

As Julia Kuhn, MS CCC-SLP, who blogs at The Traveling Traveler states, "rural hospitals serve an important part to the medical landscape of America. Without them, people would be in danger of not receiving timely medical care.

Across the US, practitioners are fighting to keep these hospitals open. Staff are taking pay cuts or hour reductions to reduce labor costs to continue to keep the doors of these hospitals open."

While it remains to be seen how this problem will be resolved, the need for qualified staff in rural healthcare jobs remains, and rural hospitals and healthcare centers will need to continue to receive federal and state funding to ensure they can still provide medical care for the rural communities they serve.

Keeping rural hospitals available to patients is a critical part of healthcare. Share your invaluable skills in these types of communities by connecting with a Club Staffing recruiter. Begin the process by applying from the link below.

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