Rural Access

Rural Georgians experience health disparities on multiple dimensions: they are less likely to have job-based health insurance, may have to travel long distances to seek medical care, and experience higher rates of chronic health conditions than their suburban and urban counterparts.

Rural hospitals are often the cornerstones of rural communities, serving as both an economic engine and an access point for health care services, yet several rural hospitals have closed in recent years and more are at risk of closure.

To ensure that Georgians living in rural parts of the state have the access to care that they need, Georgians for a Healthy Future supports policy initiatives (such as closing the coverage gap) that can strengthen our rural health system and increase access to care.

Rural_Hospitals

 


Four of Georgia’s rural hospitals have closed in the last several years.  Fifteen more are financially fragile according to the 2015 final report from Georgia’s own Rural Hospital Stabilization Committee. Increasing health coverage would provide Georgia’s hospitals with an increase source of revenue and a lower burden of uncompensated care.
Closing Georgia’s coverage gap could keep hospital doors open in rural communities.

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#TGIF: Thinking about how much you need a mental break this weekend? We’re thinking about how much the #ACA does for mental health!

The ACA provided one of the largest expansions of mental health and substance use disorder coverage in a generation because, for the first time, small employer and individual insurance plans are required to treat mental health care as equal to general medical care. On top of that, coverage for mental health and substance use disorder is considered part of the ACA’s essential health benefits, meaning behavioral health services must be covered by insurers in the same way physical health services would be covered, no matter what kind of coverage you have.

There’s more! Many of the popular provisions of the ACA are extra beneficial for people with behavioral health needs:
- Some mental health and substance use screenings for adults and behavioral assessments for children are considered preventive services now, meaning they are covered with no out-of-pocket costs.
- Because people can no longer be discriminated against for pre-existing conditions, many have been able to seek the treatment and supports that they need without worrying that getting care will disqualify them from the insurance coverage later.
- Mental and behavioral health conditions can be triggered or exacerbated during stressful times of transitions, like the change from high school to college, or school to career. Being able to keep young adults on a parent’s plan through age 26 allows young people with behavioral health needs to maintain their coverage during times when they most need the support. ow.ly/d/5X01
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The debate over the future of the #ACA is well-reported but new on the health care debate stage are proposals to drastically cut Medicaid, which provides health insurance to the most vulnerable people in Georgia. Remember that GHF has you covered with the information and facts you need to fact check the Medicaid myths that you will hear in the debates over the program and the proposed cuts. A couple examples:

-Medicaid plays a critical role in Georgia’s health care system, especially for our state’s most vulnerable populations. 64% of Georgia’s Medicaid recipients are low-income children. Medicaid also covers our low-income seniors, people with disabilities, pregnant women, and uninsured women with breast and cervical cancer.
-Medicaid bestows long-term positive effects on kids with coverage through the program. ow.ly/OzOT309e9G2
-Medicaid is a highly efficient program spending $0.94 of every dollar directly on health services.
-People with Medicaid coverage have access to health care when they need it and financial protection from unexpected medical costs, just like people with private insurance.

Check out GHF and GBPI’s Medicaid chart book to get to know Georgia’s Medicaid program a little better: ow.ly/uMge309e4LK
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GHF In The News
Feb 23, 2015
Rural health panel offers plan to cut ER use

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Rural Health Care in Georgia

Rural Georgians experience health disparities on multiple dimensions: they are less likely to have job-based…

Rural Hospital Stabilization Committee issues final report

The committee’s work shines a spotlight on the health care access challenges that rural Georgians…

Strengthen Rural Access: Close the Coverage Gap

In a report Georgians for a Healthy Future and several community partners are submitting to…