As the demand for in-home care has increased and while the baby boomer generation is retiring, placing even more pressure on the industry with regard to demand, there have been more options available to many residents across the country. However, more populated areas certainly have more access to long-term and short-term care options, but rural clients may still struggle to get the support and assistance they need at home.
This is being felt certainly in places like Kansas and Missouri, but it’s not isolated to these Midwest regions. In Southern California, for example, some home care agencies began cutting services to more remote clients because the federal government had slashed reimbursement rates through Medicaid by 14 percent as a way of helping to pay for the Affordable Care Act of 2010. This meant they could no longer afford to pay home care aides and other providers the travel time and expenses to reach these distant clients.
These issues are also impacting other rural seniors and disabled adults who are finding it difficult to get necessary care like their counterparts in more populated parts of the state.
According to The Kansas City Star blog, Missouri and Kansas could do more for rural residents’ health care needs, written as a special contribution to the Star by Alex Muresianu:
“Lack of access to health care is a worrying issue nationwide, but it’s even more dire in rural areas. Last December’s closure of the hospital in Fort Scott, Kansas, is just part of a larger pattern of rural hospitals shutting their doors for good over the past decade. This hurts local economies, and, even more importantly, threatens health care access for people living in the countryside. State governments have an obligation to keep this from happening, and they can — without much effort.”
Regulations and certification requirements make it far more difficult for smaller home care agencies to get off the ground and begin supporting clients in places like Kansas and Missouri. It’s going to be smaller agencies and businesses that are the key to helping rural residents. According to one opinion, hospitals can also influence the process of setting up organizations within more rural communities.
Focusing on the needs of an average resident of any state is certainly important, but it’s also essential that state and local government legislators and bureaucrats not overlook the needs of those men and women who live in rural areas because residents in more populated towns and cities garner more attention.