Press Release
 November 21, 2013
Melaney Arnold (217) 558-0500

Improving Health Care in Rural Communities

Governor proclaims November 21, 2013 Illinois Rural Health Day

SPRINGFIELD – In an effort to increase awareness of rural health-related challenges, Governor Pat Quinn has proclaimed November 21, 2013 as Rural Health Day in Illinois. Many rural communities face accessibility issues, a lack of health care providers, the needs of an aging population suffering from a greater number of chronic conditions, and larger percentages of un- and underinsured citizens. While 20 percent of the U.S. population lives in rural communities, only 9 percent of physicians and 12 percent of pharmacists practice in rural communities.

“Rural communities often face health disparities is the form of access to quality care, whether it is due to geographical distance, expense or lack of health care providers,” said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck. “Illinois is a very diverse state where a one size fits all health care approach does not work. We must address our health care system from the most populous urban communities to the most expansive rural areas.”

With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (visit, more Illinois residents who live in rural communities will have access to affordable health insurance. Approximately 21.9 percent of residents in remote rural counties are uninsured, compared to 14.3 percent in urban counties. Rural residents spend more on health care out of pocket than their urban counterparts. On average, rural residents pay 40 percent of their health care costs out of their own pocket compared, with urban residents who pay one-third of their costs.

Rural hospitals are also typically the economic foundation and largest employer in rural communities. Every dollar spent on rural hospitals generates about $2.20 for the local economy.

The Illinois Department of Public Health, Center for Rural Health, helps to provide services and resources, and fosters relationships that help rural communities address their unique health care needs. Expanding and cultivating public and private partnerships to increase health equity and reduce disparities through targeted leadership and outreach are priorities within the Illinois Department of Public Health Five Year Strategy 2014-2018, which can be found at For information about rural health in Illinois, go to

idph online home
News Release Home

Illinois Department of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
Phone 217-782-4977
Fax 217-782-3987
TTY 800-547-0466
Questions or Comments