Springfield, MO – This Nov. 20, 2014, the Ozarks Community Hospital health system joins the nation in celebrating the importance of providing healthcare access to rural communities.
National Rural Health Day is led by the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health each November, and honors the efforts of rural healthcare providers, state offices and other rural stakeholders who actively work to address the challenges of meeting these needs.
“Nearly one in five Americans call rural communities home. These communities have unique healthcare needs due to the larger percentages of uninsured and underinsured residents,” says CEO Paul Taylor. “Our hospital system is dedicated to growing and improving access to primary care in these areas.”
The OCH health system includes designated Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) in Mt. Vernon, Marshfield, Rogersville, Noel and Bolivar. These clinics are designated RHCs by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and provide the community with access to physicians and nurse practitioners and other specialty services.
In 1977, Congress established the Rural Health Clinic Program to address an inadequate supply of physicians serving Medicare patients in rural areas and to increase the use of nurse practitioners and physician assistants in these areas. Today, there are approximately 4,000 RHCs nationwide providing access to primary care services in rural areas.
OCH is a safety-net health system made up of two hospitals and 17 rural and urban clinics located throughout Southwest Missouri and Northwest Arkansas. OCH is dedicated to providing exceptional healthcare and preventive services to all patients in an atmosphere of compassion, respect, and dignity, with a commitment to care for the underserved and to improve access to care. For more information about OCH, visit www.OCHonline.com.