In the past decade, nearly 20 Missouri hospitals have closed, leaving 50 rural counties without a hospital.
All but one of the state's counties are in a health professional shortage. In a new report released by the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), rural communities have an increasing aging population and a greater need for health care workers. The head of DHSS said it's going to take years to resolve the workforce crisis in health care."
"It shouldn't be dependent on your place and your location—where you were born or where you chose to live, about whether or not you get health care," DHSS Director Paula Nickelson said. "It really should be equitable for everybody."
In a state that has a shortage of primary care doctors, it's even harder for rural Missourians to access health care services.