When you hear rural community you think small town, but add up the population of these areas across the country and it equals nearly 60 million people, or one in five Americans.
At the heart of many of those communities is the local hospital. The most obvious benefit – they provide timely, quality care, but these facilities are also often the financial backbone in the areas they serve. And speaking of service, hospital employees not only save lives, they improve them. Their reach extends past the four walls of the hospitals as they act as coaches, volunteers, and leaders in community organizations.
The Federation of American Hospitals wants to recognize everything these folks do, so from November 12th to November 16th we are celebrating Rural Hospital Week.
It all starts with care. Whether you need emergency treatment or have a scheduled routine procedure, the presence of a hospital in these communities saves lives. When seconds matter most, having essential health care minutes away, instead of hours, can mean the difference between life and death.
But the impact to a community extends far beyond medical capabilities. In many rural areas the hospital is the largest or second largest employer in the area. It also contributes to job creation throughout a community. A recent study by the American Medical Association found that “each physician supports almost 14 jobs and adds more than $2 million in economic output, on average.” Those aren’t just jobs in the hospital or doctor’s office, they include restaurants, dry cleaners and day cares. You would be hard pressed to find a business in a rural area that isn’t touched in some way by those who work for or get treatment at one of these facilities.
Hospital employees also make an indelible mark in the rural areas where they work and live. This week the Federation is highlighting the civic contributions of hospital heroes. You can read about them here and look for their stories on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.
We are also debuting a new episode of our podcast – Hospitals In Focus with Chip Kahn – focusing on rural hospital care. LifePoint Health’s Chairman and CEO Bill Carpenter talks with Chip about the creative ways their hospitals are advancing care and some of the challenges they face in non-urban areas. You can listen here.
The goal of Rural Hospital Week is to raise awareness of their importance nationwide and you can help by joining the conversation on social media. Share your stories of how rural hospitals have impacted your life using #StandUp4RuralHospitals.
Thank you to the dedicated employees that make rural hospitals and the communities they serve so great!