Concern about rural hospitals discussed at rural health care conference

UA rural health conference

TUSCALOOSA, AL (WBRC) - John Higginbotham, Director of the Institute of Rural Health at the University of Alabama, agreed rural hospitals in Alabama and around the country are struggling. He expounded on those comments at a conference on rural health at the Bryant Conference Center.

The conference included about three dozen health care experts and/or first responders familiar with rural medical care.

Higginbotham said overall, Alabama is also in bad shape when it comes to the number of doctors. The state is 200 to 400 doctors short of the number of the federal government suggests the state needs.

The lack of those and other professionals in health care is felt at rural hospitals.

“They’re struggling because of their lack of access to care, unable to hire physicians, to be able to hire nurses and other professionals willing to come and stay in the community,” Higginbotham explained.

That might include medical and nursing schools that could provide staff, as well as partnering with groups from their communities that offer support.

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