Essay on Problems in Health Care System in the Rural American Town

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The estimation of the United States population which accounts for twenty-three percent live in abject poverty in the countryside. The residents in the rural have been characterized with seniors, lower monetary incomes, and a likely-hood of uninsured is more prevalent in such small areas. The Americans in the low life area are more prone to recurrent attacks from illnesses than their counterparts living in the urban, and the suburban areas. Almost half of the reports from the residents in the rural have been diagnosed with at least, either one or two major illnesses or diseases that are chronic for example, cancer, hypertension, and most likely chronic bronchitis. These are more prevalent 1.4 times in the rural as compared to the urban life as shown in the charts below.

 

Fig 1: Showing healthcare concerns in rural facilities

The American rural has been experiencing a mass exodus of young energy to the urban sectors, with some places seeing an influx of oldies in their retirement ages migrating in. The report indicates an aging rural- healthcare workforce, which has neared their retirement than the urban counterparts. The resident's actual working ages has been declining in response to increasing demands from the baby boomers aging. These have accelerated the workforce shortages which have been considered a factor the rural hospitals have been facing.

Following the trends of the demographics, the rural residents have faced various barriers in their attempt to access proper health care services. Many of the patients had to make long stretches of traveling seeking health services. These have been contributed by inadequate transport systems that are reliable, thus delaying necessary care, hence aggravating problems in health making it very expensive.

In response to size, hospitals within the rural set up are smaller than those in urban sectors, with half of them having at least 25 beds or fewer. The hospitals within the countryside represent almost half of them with the hospital care expenditure at twelve percent. Even though they have smaller sizes and even smaller patients base, they still have a maintenance task ahead to achieve a significant number of essential services in trying to meet health-care requirements. This is illustrated in the chart below.

Fig 2: Showing the size and capacity of rural hospitals

Healthcare problems in the countryside in the United States of America

Heath workers shortage

Most physicians are concentrated in the cities, and they are very few of them in the rural areas. Patient versus physician's ratio in the rural areas is 39.8 physicians per 100,000 patients while in the metropolitan areas the ratio is 53.3 for the general physicians to 100,000 patient's.These are a clear indication there is uneven distribution. The Ratio of the dentists is 30 per 100,000 patients in the urban areas while the ratio in the rural areas is 22 per every 100,000 patients (Hing and Hsiao 12).

Economic and Social Factors

The average income of the people living in rural is $ 9242 per capita income which is lower than that of the mean of United States. The rural area is mostly inhabited by the minorities whose earnings are low that is the reason for the disparities. Due to their low purchasing power, they are not able to afford food and depend mainly on the supplements assistance provided by the state

Residents living in rural areas have transport challenges as they travel long distances to access medical facilities. The routine checkups and screenings are greatly hampered due to the distance to be covered. There is a significant use of tobacco in the rural areas. The youth of ages above twelve years are more likely to smoke than those leaving in the urban areas. From studies conducted the young people in the rural areas are more suicidal than those living in the metropolitan areas.

They lack information as at least 53% of those leaving in the countryside lack the required speed for internet connectivity these hinder them from the access of vital health information (O'Toole, para 10). Most rural residents are uninsured since most are unemployed they lack money to pay so as to access to quality health care.

Inequality in the Health Sector

In the rural areas of the number of vehicle accidents and other accidents fatalities are more than fifty percent more compared to other metropolitan area due to the inaccessibility of medical facilities with the capacity to handle critical cases as result of accidents.

The rural areas have seen the cases of mental health and other chronic diseases are on the rise since most of the Specialist dealing in these cases is concentrated in the city centers. The exposure of harmful chemicals during farming is also a great contributing factor. There is a stigma associated with seeking treatment for mental cases especially in the rural areas these could also explain the rising numbers of cases.

The patients find it hard to communicate with the health providers since they cannot speak fluent English and even some have low literacy levels to be able to write. The patients find do not have the confidence that the health workers will give them the services without compromising their privacy. The residents are not confident of receiving quality health services in the medical facilities located in the country side due to the lack of the state of the art equipment and Drugs. The local health policy legislations recently passed have been found to compound the problem (O'Toole para 7).

Solutions to the problems.

The rural landscape though may seem bleak; the hope of the people is not all lost. The facilities in the rural have been using the rural clinics, which have allowed them to start other smaller ones that may have an impact on the facilities services within the area. With this model in place, general care is made easier, although little hitches may still be present such, as treatment centers for cancer or specialists for heart might be inaccessible within the lower locality.

There is a tremendous improvement in accessibility with the introduction of new techniques of delivery, such as the use of telehealth, introduction of making prescriptions, subscriptions, delivery services and 24/7 on call doctors online. These would enhance greater access to healthcare service that reaches all the communities.

Affordability of services. To improve operations of services in the rural regions, sponsoring organizations and those groups that render specialized consultation have partnered together with the local communities and hospitals to facilitate financing and educate the locals on the need to do reinvestment in the available facilities. These efforts could be seen through facility expansion to accommodate more beds, through acquisition and the rehabilitation of the old to modern or current services that meet the needs of the people within that sector.

Workforce menace. The rural town hospitals face a lot of understaffing and sometimes unskilled providers that render poor health services to the communities. This is a significant blow to the health sector, and fortunately, there is hope for the residents, the skilled nurses and professionals are deployed to the rural areas through a non-governmental organization, like the USDA-Community-Facility-Program to offer requisite services to the sick people. The communities could also partner with the healthcare givers from urban areas in purchasing or re-introducing new or modern practices in the vicinity to supplement them with extra care for the physicians or rather specialist of healthcare (Moser 30). Recruitment of more physician and the facility leaders to clarify and insist that all the available physicians have the necessary skills, and shall be responsible for serving patients who are indigents by following an elaborate communities-wider health-care plans.

The willingness of the physicians to accept and accommodate the Medicaid patients as a way of payment, which is an option for segments that are large in a population that is underserved medically, and also offer charity care to that patient that might not be eligible for any form of coverage in Medicaid.

Financing healthcare. The services are so expensive for the common man to afford; strategies have been put in place to enable affordability of these essential services to all and sundry. The nonprofit making organization have lent a hand to this sector by providing the non-recourse which finances the reconstruction of facilities, insurance of persons. Others financiers are the Federal-Housing-Administration (FHA) that offer insurance programs to the residents.

The best implementers of these initiatives are the community leaders that have the power to make the necessary changes or push for more resources from the government or the non-profit making organizations. They are better placed to handle the progress of rural healthcare.

Conclusion

The rural sector is believed to be remotely sited, marred with various health issues that require an agent initiative in place. The resident has benefited from the financial support of a non-governmental organization who have constructed facilities, employed practitioners. Probable training has been done to physicians to aid the provision of sufficient and appropriate services.

Reference

Hing, Esther, and C. Hsiao. "State variability in the supply of office-based primary care providers: the United States, 2012." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2014).

Moser, Caroline ON. Ordinary families, extraordinary lives: Assets and poverty reduction in Guayaquil, 1978-2004. Brookings Institution Press, 2010.

O'Toole, Molly. "Rural Americans face a greater lack of healthcare access." Reuters.com. N.p., 2010. Web. 2017. <http://www.reuters.com/article/us-rural-idUSTRE76Q0MJ20110727>.

 

 

 

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