Articles and Speeches
5 Problems for Rural Health in Georgia and
10 Potential Solutions for Communities
November 3, 2014
Helen L. Sloat
Reprinted with permission from the Georgia Chamber of Commerce’s Profile magazine
The lack of access to care in rural areas is a major problem faced by rural communities in Georgia. In two years, four of Georgia’s hospitals have closed and a dozen others have reported being on the verge of failure.i The ability to provide high quality health care is a major asset to any community looking to attract businesses. Here are a few of the problems:
- Shortage of Providers. Communities often have difficulty attracting younger physicians to their area. Georgia ranks 40th in the United States when it comes to adequate distribution of doctors by specialty and geographic location.
- Uninsured Patients. Rural communities tend to have more uninsured individuals, and Georgia has some of the poorest counties in the nation. As a result, rural health care providers struggle with providing care to those who cannot afford to pay for their services.
- Distance Between Communities. People are often too far spread out in rural communities to justify the need for a facility in remote locations. Citizens in some communities in Georgia have to travel over 50 miles to reach a hospital.
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