This was written by my colleague Bob Humphrey of CSPI and I want to share it with you. Celebrate Rural Health Day!
National Rural Health Day
November 20th is National Rural Health day. As a former CEO of 3 rural hospitals in Alabama, let me share my thoughts on the important role of our rural healthcare providers, employees and volunteers and their contribution to the fabric of rural America.
In the small, rural hospital we know our patients; we know their first name and their relatives. We know the patient whose grandfather started the town’s feed store. We respect the intent of HIPAA, but we respect our patients even more.
We provide good quality care. We have excellent clinical systems and our quality and patient satisfaction scores rival any medical center. Our employees are knowledgeable and work hard; and many have worked at our facility for decades.
We have been under constant financial pressures lately, mainly due to scale, but we will persevere because the alternative is not acceptable to us or our community.
There have actually been some developments that should offer some encouragement to us and relieve some of this financial pressure….
-adoption and acceptance of telemedicine along with fair reimbursement
-our existing and longstanding rural primary care base will be a strength as we shift the payment model to ACOs and other Value Based Purchasing mechanisms
-our economic value to the local community is being fully realized
-our high quality measurement scores and patient satisfaction scores are being recognized by our community, peers and by payers and leaders on the national level.
All of this give us reason to celebrate Rural Health Day and here are some ways to celebrate…
-Go see the doctor who has been there for 30 years and shake his /her hand.
-Have a cup of coffee with the coworker who has been working at the hospital since they wer 18 years old.
-Take hold of a patient’s hand that you know has been in your hospital several times and assure them that we will always be there to take care of them.
-Thank a volunteer for their special role at the hospital.
-Tell Dietary how good that Peanut Butter pie is and Housekeeping how spotless the patient rooms are.
-Visit the employees out back in the trailer and thank them for their contribution to the mission of the hospital.
Then try to leave work early enough to catch the sunset over your community and reflect how vital your hospital is to you and all of those around you.