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Summit On Access Challenges For Rural Healthcare Patients

MARIPOSA COUNTY — A recent nationwide poll found one out of every four people living in rural areas couldn’t get the health care they needed, and about a quarter of those said the reason was that their health care location was too far or difficult to get to.

The implications of the situation are troubling. Rural communities are often home to a declining and older population, which can contribute to rural hospital financial instability. Residents may not get the care they need due to hospital closures, lack of doctors, long wait times and transportation issues. Appointments to take care of an illness or a routine screening are put off unless the situation is dire or life-threatening.

Residents in Mariposa County experience similar challenges, having to travel hours for primary or specialty care and still facing healthcare provider shortages and agonizingly long appointment waits. The Mariposa County Community Health Assessment illustrates the impact.

Residents surveyed voiced concerns related to having just one primary care physician (PCP) for every 2,902 people – a much higher ratio than the average in California of one PCP for every 1,274 people.

According to County Health Officer Dr. Eric Sergienko, “Mariposa is not alone, many rural communities are unable to recruit and retain providers, whether physicians or others. We will look at the issue and explore options in building a comprehensive care network for our residents.”

In a call to action, the Mariposa County Health and Human Services Agency is bringing together a diverse group of organizations, health providers, UC Merced researchers and state officials on Monday, June 17 at the “Designing a Healthy Future Summit.”

In a participative format, attendees at the event will discuss and formulate success strategies for creating a healthy future for rural counties through inspiring talks, interactive sessions, panel discussions and networking.

Speakers include Lisse Regher, Thrive Allen County CEO and Jennifer Kent, Director of the California Department of Health Care Services.

For more information please call event coordinator Karen Christenson (209) 966-3689 or email kchristenson@mariposacounty.org.



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