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OMC recognizes National Rural Health Day Nov. 20

Ozarks Medical Center will join health care organizations around the country in recognizing the importance of rural health care to the population's physical and economical health during National Rural Health Day on Thursday, Nov. 20.

National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) launched National Rural Health Day in 2011 to increase awareness of the unique health care issues facing rural Americans.

Approximately 1.8 million Missourians – nearly one in three people – live in rural communities. Ozarks Medical Center serves an 11-county area in south central Missouri and north central Arkansas with rural clinics in West Plains, Alton, Gainesville, Mountain Grove, Mountain View, Winona and Thayer, Missouri, and Mammoth Spring and Salem, Arkansas.

"Our local communities are wonderful places to live, work and visit. These are places where neighbors know each other and work together," said Tom Keller, OMC President and CEO. "OMC serves our region not only by the exceptional care we provide to area residents but also by the economic benefits the system provides as the largest employer. In 2013 alone, OMC paid $59.03 million in annual wages to more than 1,100 employees. These are funds that primarily stay in our local communities, sustaining other area businesses and organizations."

Rural communities also face unique challenges. According to the Hospital Industry Data Institute, on average, rural residents are older, more likely to suffer from multiple chronic conditions and less likely to have health insurance. In addition, for many rural residents, simply accessing the care they need close to home is a challenge due to lack of transportation and distances to specialty services.

"Although OMC is a rural hospital, we offer many services and specialties, such as open heart surgery, 24/7 orthopaedics, rheumatology and neurosurgery, that are not typically found in rural areas. This is a great benefit to our residents who are able to receive the care they need, close to home," Keller said. "National Rural Health Day gives us the opportunity to recognize the vital role OMC plays in the health and well-being of rural residents while recognizing the logistical and financial challenges facing OMC and rural hospitals around the country."

For more information about OMC, call 417-257-6735.

Facts from NOSORH:

  • Approximately 62 million people – nearly one in five Americans – live in rural and frontier areas.
  • Rural Americans reside in 80 percent of the total U.S. land area but only comprise 20 percent of the U.S. population.
  • There are 4,118 primary care Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) in rural and frontier areas of all U.S. states and territories compared to 1,960 in metropolitan areas.
  • The average median income for rural U.S. residents is $40,615 compared to $51,831 for urban residents.
  • Approximately 15.4 percent of rural U.S. residents live in poverty compared to 11.9 percent of urban residents.

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