When someone is looking to relocate, they often have three questions, how are the schools, how is the healthcare and how far away are the stores and other amenities? For rural communities that have deteriorated Main Streets and empty buildings, it is imperative that these questions are answered favorably.
For each house sold to a person(s) they bring with them the life of a fuller community. A house on the tax role, potential children to enroll in the school, more local money spent and potential civic engagement. And while it is necessary for vacant homes to be filled with life again, it is also important that while a community is gaining new blood, it doesn’t lose what was already there.
Retirees for example, have choices to make about whether or not they can age in place in their rural communities. If not, they may need to move to a place where they can. For the newcomers and the born and raised residents, an anchor to the community is healthcare.
November 19th, 2020 was National Rural Healthcare Day. Each year the third Thursday of the month is set aside to appreciate the distinct efforts of rural healthcare. This day serves as a promotional tool to challenge the philosophy that timely, accessible healthcare can only be found in non-rural communities. Most notably though, the day recognizes everyone who works to provide healthcare in rural communities.
Rural healthcare has a lot of its own challenges that are unique and can often be challenging to solve. Rural healthcare is a major asset to a community. Without it, people who can’t drive would go without, new residents may skip on by, our elderly may be forced to move away from their beloved communities and people would lose the jobs that come with the industry.
With this in mind, the Hancock Partners have embarked on a grant entry to the Health Resources and Services Administration, a federal health network program, for their Rural Health Planning grant. The grant entry is highly competitive, with funding up to $100,000.00 for creative service planning. The Hancock Partners applied for $100,000.00 to explore the planning and feasibility of a trauma center or similar service to enhance and strengthen the services already provided. Whether or not the grant is awarded, the dialogue has been presented that excellent rural healthcare is an accomplishment that rural communities can and should continue to accomplish.
And so, this November, may we all remember to focus on local. May we focus on local neighbors, businesses, organizations, parks, trails and whatever asset there is, and may that include our rural healthcare.
Economic Development Director