It's Rural Health Day!
To celebrate, experts from non-profits and government agencies are holding a live webinar on some of the challenges and rewards of providing health care to rural America.
Kristine Sande provided a "whirlwind tour" of rural health issues. She is the program director of the Rural Assistance Center. It's a great overview, and I've posted it above.
One important rural health issue is caring for veterans in rural areas. Later today, Mary Beth Skupien, director of the VA's office of rural health, will give a presentation on the topic.
In rural counties a higher proportion of young people sign up for military service. Afterward, more veterans end up in rural America too. Of the 22 million veterans in the country, 3o percent live in rural counties. Of those veterans enrolled in the VA's health care system, 41 percent live in rural areas. And the number is growing -- up 16 percent since 2006.
Skupien says rural vets have different, and greater health care needs than those in urban areas:
Specifically they have lower health-related quality of life scores and they have a higher prevalence of physical ailments. While the prevalence of mental health issues is no greater among rural veterans than those from urban areas, they are less likely to receive adequate treatment due to lack of mental health providers and perceived stigma associated with mental health problems.