Today, November 21, 2013, is the third annual National Rural Health Day. The National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) created National Rural Health Day in 2011 as a way to showcase rural America, increase awareness of rural health-related issues, and ‘Celebrate the Power of Rural.’
Rural communities are wonderful places to live, work, and visit. They are also communities where health care professionals, like those serving at Health Centers, have the opportunity to provide innovative, affordable, and comprehensive primary and preventive health care—a model for the rest of the country to follow as America transitions to a population-, wellness-based system of health care.
Rural communities also face unique health care needs: a lack of health care providers, an aging population suffering from a greater number of chronic conditions, and larger percentages of uninsured and underinsured residents. While the Affordable Care Act may make health care more affordable for rural Americans, it won’t necessarily make it more accessible—a lack of public transportation, fragile infrastructures, and geographic barriers also must be overcome to ensure that all rural safety net providers can adequately meet the health care needs of their residents.
Today nearly 59.5 million people—about 1 in 5 Americans—live in rural areas.
“Michigan Primary Care Association salutes Michigan’s health care network for increasing access to care for rural residents across the state,” said Kim Sibilsky, Chief Executive Officer, Michigan Primary Care Association. “Working together, Health Centers, Rural Health Clinics, hospitals, and other practices are
addressing the health care needs of their rural neighbors in creative and innovative ways.”
MPCA’s roots lie in rural health care. The statewide nonprofit organization began as the Michigan Association of Rural Health Care back in 1978 to foster primary care in rural underserved communities across the state. Today, MPCA is the voice for Health Centers in over 230 locations in rural and urban Michigan communities, and is honored to partner with organizations such as the Michigan Center for Rural Health to support the delivery of care in rural Michigan.
To find a Michigan Health Center near you, visit www.mpca.net.