Medical Care in the Middle of Nowhere

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(Photo by Heidi de Marco/KHN)

Where you live has a significant effect on how soon you die. Rural America in general and northwestern California in particular suffer from a lack of good medical care. In fact, our rural communities often suffer from no medical care at all–good or bad.

An article in Kaiser Health News put out earlier this week highlights the problems rural people face by focusing on how residents in the tiny hamlet of Hayfork often travel over an hour by bus to get treated at the Mad River Healthcare Clinic. The article points out,

What’s ailing these people is geography – that, and poverty. The median household income in Hayfork is about $34,000 a year, well below the statewide figure of about $60,000, according to the American Community Survey.  Unemployment is extraordinarily high – estimates range between 9 and 26 percent. Many people lack a sturdy car to drive, or even money for gas.

In the federal government’s parlance, Hayfork is a “medically underserved” community – one of roughly 3,500 in the country and 170 in California, according to the federal government’s latest numbers. By definition, these areas have too few primary care providers, high infant mortality, pervasive poverty or a significant elderly population. …According to the National Rural Health Association, only about 10 percent of physicians practice in rural America, where nearly a quarter of the population lives.

Definitely worth reading (photos are good, too.) Check it out here.

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One comment

  • thank you kym, great article. this is the shape of things to come i imagine. ya think we’ll be able to transition to the old ways of healing easily?
    maybe so around these wild places where herbology is still respected.

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