KILMICHAEL, Miss. (WCBI) – As the landscape of rural America changes, so must the programs and resources available to support access to quality health care. For one community the investment into a new health care facility speaks volumes about its commitment to its area residents.
While most rural communities in the U.S. already experience health care workforce shortages, the demand for health care workers nationwide is projected to grow faster than the supply. This shortage of health care workers can impact health care in a variety of ways, including: decreasing quality of care, decreasing access to care and increased medical costs.
Kilmichael Hospital Administrator Calvin Johnson says, “Part of the challenges that many rural facilities have and we are one of those that have those challenges is that sometimes your demand can exceed your supply and providers.”
Kilmichael’s residents have been going to the same medical clinic since the 1940’s. With a new place for nurses and doctors to call home residents are excited about what rural health care will mean to them. With nine new examining rooms, one treatment room and a fully equipped lab and X-ray room it’s a one stop shop.
Dr. Katrina Poe says, “Because we were working out of just three examining rooms and now have 10 exam rooms, it allows us to see more patients and it allows us to provide better care for those we see and also we’re hoping it to be a recruiting tool for more providers.”
The $1.4 million needed for funding was secured by an USDA Rural Development program.
According to Poe, “Having this newer facility with better equipment a larger facility it allows us to provide better access to our patients and better medical care.”
And in the end that’s all that matters. With 50 to 60 patients seen daily, the upgrade was not only needed but welcomed.
Poe says, “When you’ve got a nice place to work it helps you to feel good so you tend to perform better and provide better service.”
Most rural areas, in particular those located in Southern states, are classified by the federal government as Health Professional Shortage Areas for primary medical care.