Georgia to celebrate the first annual Rural Health Day | Health
ALBANY, GA - News release from Georgia Department of Community Health
Georgia is joining the nation to celebrate the first annual Rural Health Day, recognizing the contributions of physicians, health care providers and hospitals who provide health care to hundreds of thousands of underserved people in rural areas of the nation.
The program is being sponsored by the National Organization of State Rural Health Offices on Thursday, November 17.
The Georgia Department of Community Health’s (DCH) State Office of Rural Health (SORH) serves thousands of Georgians. In Georgia, 109 of the state’s 159 counties have populations of less than 35,000.
“In many cases, patients would be without health care services in these communities except for the dedicated physicians and health care providers who serve them,” said DCH Commissioner David A. Cook.
“Even with the advent of telemedicine – to provide access to specialists for consultations and for enhanced care – these physicians and providers are the lifeline to affordable quality health care for these underserved and uninsured Georgians.”
In Georgia, more than 2 million people live in rural areas. These people’s health care needs are met by dedicated primary care physicians, dentists, hospitals and other health care providers.
“Our mission is far-reaching and significant,” said Charles F. Owens, executive director of the SORH. “With the advent of new technologies, including telemedicine and health information technology, this is indeed an exciting time for rural health.”
With a budget of more than $7 million provided from federal and state funds, the SORH administers programs to develop financially viable non-traditional regional systems designed to meet the health and service demands of the communities served. The desired outcomes are:
· Improvements in rural health
· A strengthened health care safety net
· The introduction of health care as a strategic industry in Georgia
The SORH provides financial and technical support to select demonstration communities with the leadership and capacity to collaboratively design and implement models that:
· Increase access to integrated health services (physical health, prevention services, behavioral health, etc.)
· Transition to consumer-driven health care
· Encourage regionalization of services so that providers are more financially stable
· Use medical technology to improve health outcomes and efficiency
· Ensure the long-term viability of the state’s health care safety net
· Ensure continued job opportunities for employees in new roles that support the innovative health care delivery model, as well as creating a strong workforce of healthy citizens
Throughout the state, there are 66 hospitals located in rural counties. Twenty-seven Federally Qualified Health Centers provide 135 access points for health care.
About the Georgia Department of Community Health
Through effective planning, purchasing and oversight, the Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH) provides access to affordable, quality health care to millions of Georgians, including some of the state’s most vulnerable and underserved populations.
DCH is responsible for Medicaid and PeachCare for Kids,® the State Health Benefit Plan, Healthcare Facility Regulation and Health Information Technology in Georgia.
David A. Cook serves as Commissioner for the Georgia Department of Community Health. To learn more about DCH and its dedication to A Healthy Georgia, visit www.dch.georgia.gov.