Amazing things are happening in rural America.
People in small towns and rural areas are not only putting their livelihoods on the line to produce the nation's food, lumber and mining products, they are also caretaking America's vast natural resources for current and future generations.
They are continuing the traditional values that made the country great - knowing neighbors, throwing together when people are in need, and doing one's best to raise healthy families, keep schools and businesses thriving and ensure opportunities for everyone.
Unfortunately, these communities face unique healthcare concerns: large distances to hospitals and clinics, very limited EMS funding, a dwindling supply of physicians and other providers, and due to the prevalence of self- and small business employers, a larger percentage of un-/underinsured citizens.
Meanwhile, rural hospitals and health systems face declining reimbursement rates and disproportionate funding levels that make it challenging to meet the physical, social and economic needs of their communities.
These are just a few of the issues that these state and national rural stakeholders hope to bring to light during the second annual National Rural Health Day on Thursday, Nov. 15.
These stakeholders include the Wisconsin Office of Rural Health (WI-ORH), the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH), the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, the National Farm Medicine Center in Marshfield, UW-Extension/Cooperative Extension, and the Rural Health Initiative.
NOSORH created National Rural Health Day as a way to showcase rural America and increase awareness of rural health-related issues.
"National Rural Health Day gives NOSORH and its partners the opportunity to 'Celebrate the Power of Rural' and showcase the good works of America's 59.5 million rural citizens," notes NOSORH Director Teryl Eisinger.
Eisinger added, "It also allows us to highlight the unique healthcare issues being faced by rural citizens and promote the efforts of NOSORH, State Offices of Rural Health (SORHs) and their partners in addressing those issues."
In Wisconsin for example, the WI-ORH provides programs that help rural hospitals, clinics and EMS keep their doors open and their quality of care continually improving. They recruit physicians and dentists to rural and underserved areas, provide grants for community health improvement projects, and resources to healthcare providers.
Events recognizing National Rural Health Day and "Celebrating the Power of Rural" will take place in every state throughout the nation the week of November 11-17.
In Wisconsin, the WI-ORH and their partners will celebrate National Rural Health Day through a media campaign, municipal government and organizational proclamations, and local events.
Additional National Rural Health Day information is available at celebratepowerofrural.org.
To learn more about NOSORH, visit www.nosorh.org.