Your Health Nov. 19, 2013 Rural health shortages

      {}{}{} Alabama will celebrate National Rural Health Day on November 21st.{} It's a day to raise awareness of the unique health care issues facing including a shortage of health care providers for rural Americans.

      {}{}{}{} Fifty-five out of 67 of Alabama's counties are considered rural, and two-million residents or 43.6 percent of the entire Alabama population live in rural areas.{} Alabama currently needs 156 strategically placed primary care physicians to eliminate all primary care shortages and 434 to provide optimal care.{} Only three of Alabama's 55 rural counties are not entirely or partially classified as primary care shortage areas.{} They are Coffee, Marion and Pike counties.

      {} Eight rural Alabama counties do not have hospitals.{} Only 19 of the 55 rural counties offer basic obstetrics services.{}All of Alabama's 55 rural counties are classified as dental shortage areas for the Medicaid population.{}

      {}{} Alabama currently needs 262 strategically placed dentists serving the Medicaid population to eliminate all dental shortages and 363 to provide optimal care.{}{}{}{} For community health status indicators, supporting activities and a list of available services to help increase health care access in rural communities, go to {<}{>}.{}{}