I believe everyone should receive quality healthcare and have access to affordable healthcare. Mobile units and telehealthcare can provide access to affordable healthcare in rural areas. Particularly in times of crisis, we must empower our healthcare systems to manage the needs of their communities effectively.
The disproportionate American COVID-19 statistics are not theoretical - they represent real American lives. A lack of national and local leadership, unfortunately, continues to put public health and the national economy in jeopardy.
Rural Americans have lower life expectancies and are at increased risk for several medical conditions compared to those in urban areas. Nearly 20% of Americans living in rural communities face significant barriers to healthcare access, including lack of available physicians and dentists, and proximity to significant healthcare resources.
As your representative, I will prioritize healthcare in our district by:
Increasing access to healthcare resources
The District needs adequate access to information to enable them to make the best decisions regarding their healthcare. Not only are their significant barriers in access to health care resources, but around half of rural Americans lack high-speed bandwidth, further limiting their access to information. I will advocate for access to high-speed internet statewide primarily rural areas.
Given all of the barriers to population health in rural communities, it is essential that we research and develop new models to meet the health needs of our respective populations. In terms of access, mobile and telehealth clinics can help alleviate health disparities by offering urgent care, preventable health screenings, and chronic disease management initiation services locally. Mobile health units and telehealth can help narrow health disparities to vulnerable populations and those with chronic disease, eliminate logistical barriers (such as difficulties making appointments, transportation issues, long waits, and complex administrative processes), and establish trust through an informal and patient-centered design. They also can assess unmet community health care and social needs, which allows them to connect to other community resources. I promise to advocate for Mobile Health Units in local communities to provide general medicine, mammograms, dentistry, mental health screenings, substance abuse, and Veteran Affairs services.
Give rural hospitals the necessary funding to remain operational.
Many rural Americans rely on rural hospitals as crucial, and often, sole sources of healthcare in their areas. They are instrumental in improving the population health in their communities by providing convenient access and crucial economic anchors that offer spaces with direct employment and indirect reinforcement through the purchase of goods and services from private businesses within their locality. Further, the income taxes from said employment support local services, schools, and infrastructure.
Incentivize doctors and specialists to practice in rural communities?
Expand access to affordable insurance opportunities
Nearly 35,000 people in our district rely on the Affordable Care Act for access to healthcare. To keep these options available, I will defend the ACA.