Welcome to Arc Health’s Rural Health Page!
With this page, we hope to connect doctors and other healthcare professionals to the best resources on rural healthcare. Rural communities across the US have struggled for equitable healthcare services for decades. On this page, you will find a wealth of information available to equip clinicians to serve in rural areas.
- Rural residents make up 20% of the U.S. population and are scattered over 95% of the landmass of the U.S.
- Rural Americans suffer from chronic diseases (heart disease, diabetes, etc) at higher rates
- The rate of overdose deaths in non-metro counties is 45% higher than in metro counties
- In an emergency, rural patients must travel twice as far as urban residents to the closest hospital
- 60% of trauma deaths occur in rural America, even though only 20% of Americans live in rural areas
Important Aspects of Rural Healthcare
Safety net health care providers in rural communities face a unique combination of challenges, including limited economies of scale, heavy dependence on public payers, low patient volume, and sometimes unnecessary duplication of services among providers. Given these circumstances, lack of collaboration can put key services at risk given the often-fragile economic status of rural providers like Health Centers, small rural hospitals, Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs), Rural Health Clinics (RHCs), and local public health departments.
Collaboration and coordination can offer solutions to problems that commonly affect rural areas:
- Financial Viability
- Health Workforce
- Health Care Access
- Social Determinants of Health
A community health worker is a frontline public health worker who is a trusted member of and/or has an unusually close understanding of the community served. Community health workers are integral in addressing the social determinants to health. They also help support smaller clinical workforces by taking on non-clinical work for providers. Community health workers are taking on more and more responsibility in communities because they bridge the existing social gap between healthcare and providers and they can provide immediate services in remote areas.