Rural healthcare in dire straights - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Rural healthcare in dire straights

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Dr. Ann Addison Dr. Ann Addison
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ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

An expert on rural health care says the state's decision to turn down federal money to expand Medicaid could cause more rural hospitals to close. 3 rural hospitals in south Georgia have closed this year and a 4th closed its emergency room care.

The CEO of Primary Care Southwest Georgia and president of the Georgia Rural Health Association says without Medicaid expansions, 15 more rural hospitals are at risk of closing which could cause a crisis. But Dr. Ann Addison says new Federally Qualify Health Centers are opening and that helped Blakely get its first pediatrician.

Dr. Ann Addison says "The number of FQHCs in Georgia has increased. These are agencies that provide quality cost effective care so it creates a medical home for these patients and helps prevent unnecessary hospitalizations and emergency room visits" 

Thursday November 21st is National Rural Health Day, bringing awareness to the difficulties many people face living in rural areas in getting healthcare. To find healthcare in your rural area visit www.gaphc.org

Statistics: Folks living in rural areas may drive 20 to 60 miles to seek healthcare. There are 159 counties in Georgia 109 of them are rural counties. In those rural counties: 6 are without family physician 31 are without a general internist 63 are without a pediatrician 79 are without an OB/GYN 66 are without a general surgeon Loss of hospitals means loss of income and reduces economic development.

 

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