Last Thursday, November 21 marked National Rural Health Day, a celebration to honor the strength of rural communities and the health care providers who dedicate their time to addressing the health barriers and challenges that rural populations face.
Nearly one in five Americans live in rural communities, and in Colorado, 48 out of 64 counties in the state are considered rural or frontier areas. Rural communities have unique needs, especially when it comes to health care. People living in rural communities experience higher rates of poverty and unemployment, and lower incomes. Additionally, according to a recent report by the Colorado Rural Health Center, nearly 23% of adults and 16% of children living in rural or frontier counties in Colorado are uninsured. Rural communities also face transportation and access issues, as well as health provider shortages. This is why the rural health care network, which includes Community Health Centers (CHCs), is so important!
CHCs in Colorado play an important role in addressing the needs of rural communities. Half of Colorado’s 18 CHCs and many of their 159 clinic sites are located in rural areas, and provide essential care in communities where there is a shortage of health care providers. Colorado’s CHCs provide affordable and accessible care in these hard to reach areas of the state. Their community based, integrated care model helps address many of the barriers that rural populations face to access high quality, affordable care, and allows providers to practice a more patient centered approach to health care.
Rural CHCs are essential to the health of Colorado’s underserved rural populations. If you are interested in joining a team of rural health professionals and having an impact on these communities, visit the CHAMPS job board to learn more about employment opportunities. Or, for more information about Colorado’s 18 CHCs, visit CCHN’s website.