Health Care Access Map|
How far would you travel to have a broken arm set? To see a doctor about a cold? To get treatment for a heart condition?
Due to greater distances and fewer resources, people in rural communities often
have a tougher time accessing the kinds of health care services that most
urban residents take for granted. Some Oregonians drive hundreds of miles
to receive health care — never mind the mountains and weather. A
trip to the dentist for a checkup might be a three-hour, round-trip drive
and take up half a day. Or, because there are fewer and fewer obstetricians
in rural communities, an expectant mother might have to drive a hundred
and fifty miles just to give birth.
The distances can be particularly difficult in emergency situations. Emergency responders talk about the "golden hour" of trauma care, which is the optimum time for critical patients to be treated and stabilized. Beyond that hour, a patient's chances for survival decrease rapidly. For rural patients, that golden hour is often lost just waiting for an ambulance to arrive.
The interactive health care accesss map highlights three rural Oregon towns to illustrate how far rural residents have to travel to reach some basic health care services.