South Central Missouri residents will have a chance to share their concerns about health care this week. On Wednesday, the Southern Ozarks Alliance for Rural Development (SOAR) will host a rural health meeting in Willow Springs. Several speakers will share information and hear from area residents about their concerns including—Dr. Dalin Duitsman, director of Ozark Public Health Institute with Missouri State University, Chief of Rural Health in Missouri Ben Harvey, and several representatives of area health care providers.
Wendell Bailey is coordinator for the local SOAR which covers 10 southwest Missouri counties from Ava to VanBuren.
“They’re going to introduce our area to the availability. We have rural health clinics but I am not certain if they’re well known or well accepted in our area. Our hospitals are in dire straits,” Bailey explains.
Health care is an important issue to everybody, says Bailey, but in rural areas that tend to have low income and education levels, it continues to be a challenge.
“We still have immense problems. The Medicaid reimbursements that are available to some people are not adequate as far I can discern from what the hospitals are saying. They’re [the hospitals] are still losing money. It’s a very big problem of delivering healthcare to the lowest income group of people in the state of Missouri,” says Bailey.
Bailey says the event will provide a two-way exchange of ideas and will be a great opportunity to voice concerns. The meeting is open to the public and will begin at 5:30pm at the Charles Ferguson Building in Willow Springs this Wednesday.