Healthcare in America

Healthcare in America

This holiday season, we should be thankful for all that we have. In addition to food, shelter, and education, we should also remember the many resources that often get taken for granted. One of these is medical care. We live in an area with outstanding hospitals, including several children’s hospitals. On Long Island, there are 23 hospitals spread across Nassau and Suffolk county. For most people living here, the hospital is only a short drive away, and is easily accessible in case of an emergency. Apart from proximity, we have various choices when it comes to specialists and subspecialists when needed, and we have ERs, urgent cares and pharmacies all within a close distance. 


However, many in our country are not as fortunate. In rural parts of the country, hospitals and even pharmacies and other forms of medical care can be much, much further away. For example, in a small town in West Virginia called Man, the hospital that was there was permanently closed over 20 years ago in 2001. If you live in this town, the closest hospital you have access to is 51 minutes away, with a limited number of doctors and very few specialists. 


Building on this, another factor that further complicates the healthcare issue plaguing rural America is the lack of specialist options. For instance, looking at a rural town in Montana, the nearest allergy specialist is 3 and a half hours away. For other specialists, it could be longer. Where we live, not only do we have healthcare nearby, we also have choices. This we take for granted. If you live in a rural area and your child needs to see a specialist, you would have to take time off from work, pull your child from school, find childcare if you have another child, and find transportation, all of which might be harder for a poor family. So what happens when medical care is forgotten due to these barriers? Conditions can worsen and go untreated, people are more likely to have complications and die, and the situation will only get worse. Emergencies happen and medicines are needed, coming with extra costs that can push families further into debt. While this can apply to families who are financially struggling anywhere, distance from quality medical care in rural areas makes things even more challenging. 


The examples I used are just a couple sides to a different way of living than we are used to, one that we are often shielded from. Medical care is a major issue in the nation, and not just in rural areas. It does make you wonder though, how many other shut down hospitals are there? How many people have to sacrifice their work days to go get essential medical care for their child? How many are not getting the care they need? So the next time you need to see a specialist, get an X-ray, or start an antibiotic, think about how lucky we are to have these options. 


To help others have some of the same opportunities that we do, I started a team on Charity Miles, a free app that allows corporate sponsors to donate money for the miles you walk, run, or bike. I chose to donate to Save the Children, an organization that has many objectives, some of which include getting services, vaccines, medicine, and food to children in rural America, and around the world.

Go to from your phone to download the app, then join the FA Runs team (from the team icon at the bottom), and start helping those who have less access than we do.