Health care in rural Maryland faces challenges [Letter]

November 22, 2013

Nov. 21 was designated as Maryland Rural Health Day. We hope the public will join the Rural Maryland Council, the Maryland State Office of Rural Health and other stakeholders as we highlight health care in rural communities across the state.

Rural Maryland is characterized by small, close-knit communities where citizens often know their health providers as friends and neighbors. Local physicians, nurses and other professionals work hard to provide excellent care. We celebrate and thank these individuals for their service to our communities.

Unfortunately, our rural areas also face considerable challenges in the delivery of health care due to lack of providers and lack of public transportation. Often, the doctor's office or hospital is quite a distance away or patients must travel many miles to reach a specialist needed to address a specific health concern. Our aging rural population suffers from a greater number of chronic conditions and larger percentages of rural residents are under- or uninsured.

Maryland Rural Health Day is a day to work together to address these and other challenges. Advocating usage of new technology like tele-medicine and increased investment in rural health are some of the ways we can improve health care and the quality of life for rural Marylanders.

Charlotte Davis, Annapolis

The writer is executive director of the Rural Maryland Council.

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