Memorial's Clinics Celebrate National Rural Health Day
National Rural Health Day is Nov. 21. To celebrate the day, Memorial Hospital's rural health clinics had a luncheon catered by Joe's Pizza of Chester. National Rural Health Day celebrates rural communities, highlights the unique health challenges and opportunities faced by the rural healthcare providers, and brings together rural health care facilities and other stakeholders who work tirelessly to improve the health and wellbeing of their communities.
According to an op-ed published this week by A.J. Wilhelmi, President & CEO, Illinois Health and Hospital Association (IHA) and Pat Schou, Executive Director, Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network (ICAHN), "over 1.4 million Illinoisans live in rural communities and rely on their local hospital as an important—and often only—source of care. The dedication of small and rural hospitals to providing access to quality healthcare extends beyond the walls of the hospital. When state budget cuts left the Effingham County Health Department without the staff to provide hearing and vision screenings in local schools, HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital stepped in to provide the screenings at no cost to the schools. And to help tackle childhood obesity, Pana Community Hospital partnered with a local school district, where 65 percent of students come from low-income families, which are disproportionately affected by the disease. Hospital staff led physical education classes for six weeks and students received a pedometer to track their steps. The list of community-based services provided by small and rural hospitals is extensive, and it is filled with powerful examples of neighbors helping neighbors.
Illinois’ small and rural hospitals have an annual economic impact of over $12 billion that includes providing direct employment opportunities and indirect strengthening of the local economy through the purchasing of goods and services from local businesses. Yet, the persistent challenges of providing care in rural areas—including an aging population, difficult payer mix, workforce shortages, reimbursement cuts and shifts in how care is delivered—can make it difficult for some hospitals to maintain access, especially to expensive services such as maternity care and behavioral health. Since 2005, 161 rural hospitals nationwide have closed, including 88 during just the past five years. Over 45 percent of Illinois small and rural hospitals operate on negative or thin margins."
Memorial Hospital along with our rural health clinics and Therapy & Sports Rehab Center, is honored to provide quality care in our rural community. From our compassionate providers at the Chester Clinic and Steeleville Family Practice to our specialty doctors at our hospital clinics, we have one goal, to bring the best care possible to our community to improve their health and wellbeing. Our team works to improve the technology and treatments used to care for our patients so they can receive the same care locally without having to travel away from home.