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  • Jeannie Maria Dougherty

Rural Healthcare is in Distress: What can we do to save it?

Author: Jeannie Dougherty Client: Date Published: Mary 23, 2019

One of our clients recently pointed us to a very moving TED talk by Tee Faircloth on issues facing rural hospitals in the U.S. “Why we ALL have a stake in solving the rural healthcare crisis”.

In his TED Talk, Tee Faircloth , CEO of Coordinated Care Inc., discusses the plight of 70 million Americans who depend on the ever shrinking pool of rural hospitals (over a 100 of which have closed since 2010), and the affect that has on hospitals, both big and small, across this country. According to the Bureau of Workforce Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), as of June, 2019, over 6,400 areas in the U.S. have been classified as has having professional health shortages, over 3800 of which are located in rural areas.

With the creation of Coordinated Care Inc., Tee adds to his 20-year track record of saving companies from going under by working with legislators, state governments, academic institutions and national rural health advocates to drive innovations that not only improve growth in rural hospitals, but also benefit patient care.

According to a recent poll performed by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, 1 out of every 4 rural inhabitants said they weren’t able to get the healthcare they needed recently, a quarter of those attributing that fact to the lack of nearby healthcare facilities.

Tee ties the fact that rural hospitals are in dire straights and desperate to keep their doors open, to a decreasing patient censuses and lack of revenue due to:

  • A declining population

  • Economic stagnation

  • Shortage of physicians and healthcare professionals

  • Disproportionate number of elderly, poor, and underinsured residents

  • A heavy dependence on Medicare and Medicaid

  • High rates of chronic illness

Tee contrasts that with the overcrowding, complicated processes and procedures and inability of large urban hospitals to provide specialized care and talks about the solutions to these problems being an organized system of care that unscrambles complicated processes and procedures and provides for improved patient care delivery.

Rural Healthcare is in Distress: What can we do to save it?

HospitalPORTAL has had the privilege of working with hundreds of rural and critical care access hospitals throughout the United States providing intranet, policy and procedure management solutions.

Having personally visited many of these institutions, we have witnessed firsthand the importance these medical institutions have on the community, the economy and the people they serve.

Also, without exception we have witnessed:

  • Rural hospitals have the highest level of professionalism, dedication, and compassion for the patients they serve, along with a passion for the work they do, their jobs, and one another

  • From CEOs to nurses to housekeeping staff, most are eager to participate in any intranet or policy management system implementation project that leads to improved patient care

  • The technical abilities of IT professionals in rural hospitals are on par with larger health systems

  • Rural hospitals can effectively undertake and complete challenging projects such as intranet or policy management system implementation, often faster and more effectively than larger metropolitan health systems

As a vendor that often works alongside rural hospitals, spending a few days at a time at each site getting to know the dedicated healthcare professionals, HospitalPORTAL can attest to the importance these institutions play in their communities. Not only are they often the biggest employer in the communities they serve, but these rural and critical care access hospitals are also often the only point of healthcare for miles around.

It is with great pride and satisfaction that we can do our small part in “redesigning” rural healthcare with effective policy and procedure management solutions, organized communication streams via our intranet platforms. including digital community webpages. We hope that while we help these institutions boost their bottom line and better serve their patients, we’re also helping them to better connect to the communities they serve.

Access the HospitalPORTAL blog page for more information on best practices for healthcare intranet implementation and management.

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