When was the last time you stopped what you were doing to give yourself and your rural hospital a pat on the back?
If your answer to that question is "never," you undoubtedly wouldn't be alone.
"They're so busy in the trenches," Cindy Large, Indiana Flex Program coordinator, tells HealthLeaders Media.
But on Thursday, state offices of rural health, rural hospitals, and other rural health organizations across the country will get a chance to recognize their achievements by participating in a long-overdue celebration of rural healthcare.
The first annual National Rural Health Day aims to shine a light on rural health—what makes it great and its challenges—in an effort to "celebrate the power of rural," as the event's tagline says. Spearheaded by the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health, the celebration encourages rural health organizations throughout the country to participate with conferences, events, and legislative proclamations declaring the third Thursday of November National Rural Health Day.
Among those celebrating is the Indiana Rural Health Association, which has set up a webpage dedicated to the event. The site features rural success stories that hospitals throughout the state shared with the association in recognition of the day.
"I was surprised by the number of stories that I received from all of them," Large said.
And there are a lot of stories. Like the one from Rush Memorial Hospital in Rushville, IN, about a community- and hospital-based initiative to help patients and families cope with the financial strains of cancer treatment, and from Jasper County Hospital, a critical access hospital in Rensselaer, IN, which recently installed an MRI system, allowing patients to get have their scans done close to home.
Although National Rural Health Day is intended to be an annual event, Large says she'll keep updating the site all year with success stories.