Today is National Rural Health Day, and the South Dakota Association of Healthcare Organizations (SDAHO) joins with others to recognize over 60 million Americans who live, work and receive health care in a rural area. In South Dakota more than one in three people live in a rural area!
Health care in rural America and rural South Dakota faces unique challenges. Accessibility issues, a lack of health care providers, an aging population, un- and underinsured citizens and a lack of funding all pose obstacles in the delivery of care.
That is why the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health sets aside the third Thursday of every November to celebrate National Rural Health Day. It’s a time to honor the community-minded, “get it done” spirit in rural America, as well as a time to highlight the unique challenges that rural citizens and health care providers face.
In South Dakota we have the Department of Health’s Office of Rural Health working on a daily basis to improve access to quality health care. Some of the areas which they focus on are recruiting health professionals, assisting rural hospitals and clinics and providing general information and referral.
To learn more about rural health in America browse through the fast facts found on the National Organization of State Office of Rural Health’s website.