CORH BLOG: Thankful for Rural Healthcare Workers
In light of Thanksgiving and showing gratitude for others, the Center for Optimizing Rural Health (CORH) would like to recognize and thank our rural healthcare heroes for their resiliency, dedication, and hard work throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic. The Pandemic has tested the emotional and physical capacities of all healthcare facilities and their professionals across the globe. The personal sacrifices, long hours under immense pressure, and bravery that our healthcare workers have displayed in the past two years epitomize the spirit of resiliency that has carried the world through this Pandemic. This same spirit is what will help every rural hospital’s local community navigate post-pandemic life.
At CORH, we have the privilege of working alongside rural hospitals across the country whose healthcare workers are making differences within their communities. Throughout every new cohort of hospitals at CORH, our case managers develop personal relationships with their hospitals’ leadership and get to experience what makes each of their facilities unique. Our CORH team is very grateful for these impactful interactions and the opportunities afforded to us by our hospitals to work so closely with them. Each case manager is thankful for the work done by our hospitals and would like to share one of our most memorable exchanges-
Titus Regional Medical Center (TRMC)- One of our case managers, Bree Watzak PharmD, BCPS, has had the opportunity to work alongside TRMC on several projects, including Bright Spots and our CORH program. Bree is grateful for the work Titus has done with us and has commended how TRMC, especially as a COVID Hot Spot, “engaged, educated, and protected their community during the Pandemic.” Titus’ efforts to progress access to rural healthcare extend further than their local community—In 2017, TRMC, along with three other rural Texas hospitals, was awarded a grant to expand Pediatric Telehealth Services to children in Texas. Children in over 25 Texas counties benefited from access to these services thanks to the great endeavors of hospitals like TRMC to implement this new technology.
For the same reasons that we at CORH feel thankful for our hospitals, rural communities throughout the United States are grateful for their local hospitals. Our rural healthcare facilities provide the majority of healthcare services to their communities, conveying the dire need for them to remain open and running. Standing up for rural healthcare is one of the most critical ways to thank our rural hospitals and healthcare workers who work tirelessly to provide care for small communities across the nation. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 Pandemic has exacerbated the challenges that healthcare professionals face; however, rural healthcare has met these difficulties with a spirit of resiliency and overcome them through partnerships with other hospitals, new technologies, and strategic innovations. Moreover, our healthcare workers’ approaches to the Pandemic have given us hope for the years to come—the vaccination rate gap between urban and rural citizens is narrowing, rural infection rates are falling, and the USDA is allocating $1.15 Billion for rural communities and hospitals to access high-speed internet. To all rural healthcare workers, hospitals, and advocates—we are thankful for you!