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Rural Health Care

In: Social Issues

Submitted By Kaya243
Words 3905
Pages 16
Introduction to Rural Health Care According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in recent years, concern for rural populations has emerged in Congress and other upper levels of government. The creation of the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (ORHP) exemplified this new recognition of the significant challenges and difficulties facing rural residents in a rapidly urbanizing Nation. According to the 1990 census, there were over 61 million people living in rural areas. That equals a population greater than that of the UK, Spain, France or Italy in 1996.
Rural America touches almost every state. A large number of the Western states have a majority of land which is defined as rural. Generally, non-metropolitan populations have higher poverty rates, higher unemployment rates, and lower educational backgrounds than those individuals living in metropolitan communities. These same residents in non-metropolitan areas are afflicted with a poorer health status. There are higher rates of chronic disease, infant mortality, accidental farming-related injuries, occupational hazards, and trauma mortality in rural areas when compared to those living in metropolitan areas.
A compounding factor affecting these already poor indicators is the significant lack of access to health care in these rural communities. The barriers to access are due to a variety of factors. Many of the residents of rural America have limited financial resources to pay for their medical care. In addition to poor finances, the residents must travel great distances to reach a health care practitioner. Often, these residents have difficulty obtaining transportation to get to the health care facility. (Merwin, Snyder, & Katz, 2006, 187) The lack of health care practitioners only intensifies the problems faced by rural Americans in their quest for quality health care. There...

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