Letter to the Editor: National Rural Health Day

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OPINION —

On Nov. 17 we celebrate National Rural Health Day, a time to remember your friends and neighbors in Alabama’s rural hospitals. Alabama’s rural hospitals are an essential part of our communities. Over 12,000 people are employed by these hospitals. In many communities they are among the largest employers.

Rural hospitals are not only economic engines; they are, more importantly, providers of essential services for their neighbors. They are a critical part of Alabama’s healthcare system. By taking care of appropriate patients in their local communities, they allow larger urban hospitals to provide care to patients who may be more ill. Without the presence of rural hospitals, the Alabama health care system would have been unable to cope with challenges presented by COVID or deal with the current surge in influenza cases. Alabama’s rural hospitals provide high quality healthcare 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including weekends and holidays. They are always there to provide care for the community.

Rural hospitals are more than buildings. They are staffed with committed professionals who not only provide care in the hospital, but also meet essential needs in the community. During the recent COVID challenge, rural hospitals gave thousands of doses of vaccine in community clinics. They are essential providers in health fairs and other outreach activities. Rural hospital employees are volunteers in local churches and civic clubs, giving their time and resources both on and off the job. They are on the sidelines at high school football games to aid as needed. Most of all, Alabama’s rural hospitals are staffed by your friends, neighbors and family members who are committed to improving the lives of our communities.

So, please join us in thanking your local hospital staff, physicians and volunteers for their tireless work and ongoing care of your community.

Joseph Marchant, Chairman Alabama Hospital Association

CEO Bibb Medical Center

Donald E. Williamson, MD President/CEO Alabama Hospital Association

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