OLEAN - Assemblyman Joseph M. Giglio (R,C,I - Gowanda) recently joined forces with Southern Tier Health Care System to recognize National Rural Health Day, which is being marked today. It is a day for residents of rural areas to familiarize themselves with rural health care, hospitals and other institutions.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, hospitals and health care institutions in Cattaraugus, Allegany and Chautauqua counties employ over 14,000 people with an annual payroll of over $4 million and annual revenues of approximately $9.5 million. Rural health care institutions are often an important economic foundation for small communities, in addition to being the primary sources of care.
"The Assembly District in which I serve is greatly dependent upon small community hospitals, ambulatory care centers, primary care centers and many other rural health care delivery systems," Giglio said. "It is often difficult for rural areas to recruit and retain health care professionals, which is an issue that the Legislature has recognized and is addressing. Our health care institutions are very important to us in terms of both direct care and economic drivers in our community."
Donna Kahm, Southern Tier Health Care System president and CEO, said National Rural Health Day is a good opportunity to focus on the health care needs of rural residents.
"Rural communities pose unique challenges when it comes to ensuring people receive the health care services they need for themselves and their families," she said. "I want to thank Assemblyman Giglio for recognizing National Rural Health Day and raising awareness of the needs of rural communities."
According to the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health, while rural communities make up 20 percent of the U.S. population, they account for nearly 60 percent of all trauma deaths.
Kahm said greater travel distances to hospitals, lower numbers of doctors and other health-care providers and economies founded around agriculture and logging all contribute to the different challenges facing rural health care systems.
"I will keep working with my colleagues to address issues important to rural health care and the rural areas of our state," said Assemblyman Giglio. "Health care needs are changing daily because of economics, technology and for many other reasons and we must be able to respond to those changes and challenges."