Take a look at some of these interesting facts about healthcare in rural America provided by our colleagues at the National Rural Health Association.
- While one-fourth of America’s population resides in rural areas of the country, only about 10 percent of physicians practice in rural America.
- Anywhere from 57 to 90 percent of first responders in rural areas are volunteers.
- Twenty percent of nonmetropolitan counties lack mental health services versus five percent of metropolitan counties. In 1999, 87 percent of the 1,669 Mental Health Professional Shortage Areas in the United States were in non-metropolitan counties and home to over 30 million people.
- Rural residents have greater transportation difficulties reaching health care providers, often traveling great distances to reach a doctor or hospital.
There are many more numbers like this that reflect the urgent need for healthcare solutions for good people living in rural areas of our country. The good news is that advances in technology are helping bridge those medical care gaps. To take the good news one step further, there are funds available to rural healthcare facilities which enable them to upgrade their telecom and data systems to make telemedicine feasible.
Because Rural Health Telecom (RHT) is the only telecommunications provider focusing solely on the healthcare industry, we know first-hand about the healthcare challenges faced by rural facilities. Most importantly, we also know how to help those administrators create high-speed, reliable networks without breaking the bank. RHT is now helping healthcare providers in 32 states overcome those data-handling hurdles and costs.
When we talk about federal funding to some healthcare organizations, they often will hesitate, thinking that federal systems are too complicated and time consuming. It can take a novice less than an hour to fill out the two-page application for Universal Service Funds, especially if you have a resource to call upon for guidance.
While our team at Rural Health Telecom cannot actually do the paperwork for a healthcare facility, we are always available to answer your questions and listen to your concerns. That helpful direction has led to Rural Health Telecom customers receiving maximum federal funding assistance for their facilities. This allows those facilities to make significant improvements to their data systems for little to no extra out-of-pocket costs.
Too many healthcare organizations in this country do not know about the opportunities for assistance. That is why getting the word out about the Universal Service Fund program is our priority at RHT.
Through advancements in telemedicine and the telecommunications systems which fuel that engine, citizens in rural America can have the same level of healthcare that their neighbors in larger cities have. The know-how is there, the funding is there. Rural Health Telecom wants to help rural healthcare administrators get there as well – because (in the long run) this allows citizens across our country to have access to great medical care, not far from home.