Office of Rural Health Helping Veterans Who Live Outside of Urban Settings
An estimated 40% of veterans living in the United States reside in rural areas. Regardless of gender, age or ethnicity, veterans living in rural settings generally find it more difficult to access health care from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
Many simply cannot travel the distance to the closest VA to get the necessary aid. For others requiring specialized care, it simply is not available away from many of the main medical facilities, which are located in major cities. The end result is an unfortunate toll on the rural population.
Without health care, overall poor health prevails among the rural population. Approximately 50% of veterans living in rural areas currently suffer from a “chronic health condition” according to recent estimates.
These health conditions can unfortunately be further complicated in those veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), and depression; all of which are alarmingly common among veterans.
The Office of Rural Health (ORH) was created in 2007 in an effort to bring VA healthcare to those rural veterans who cannot travel to the VA medical centers. The focus of the ORH’s work is “prevention and patient-centered care” so as to be able to tailor the provided healthcare to the needs of the veterans, which includes aging.
The ORH operates toward meeting 6 specific goals so they can provide the best possible healthcare remotely. Although the ORH is providing a valuable service, and has made incredible progress, their mission will not be complete until every rural veteran can access their owed VA health care.