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Maine DHHS Honors Health Professionals, Providers, and Volunteers on National Rural Health Day

November 21, 2019
Human Services

AUGUSTA –The Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) recognizes health professionals and volunteers throughout the state today during National Rural Health Day 2019.

National Rural Health Day falls on the third Thursday in November each year and honors the efforts of those serving the health needs of an estimated 57 million people across the nation. In Maine, 40 percent of the state's 1.3 million residents live in rural areas, and are served by health professionals and volunteers in a range of settings, such as clinics, medical offices, hospitals, nursing homes, and their own homes.

"Maine's rural communities are wonderful places to live, work and raise a family, and it is a priority of my Administration to ensure that every person who calls, or wants to call, rural Maine home has access to high-quality care provided by our dedicated health professionals and volunteers," said Governor Janet Mills. "By working together, we can support rural practitioners, expand access to care, strengthen our rural economies, and welcome more people to put down roots in these great communities."

"Supporting and strengthening our rural health system is central to our work at the Department of Health and Human Services," said DHHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambrewat a Rural Health Day event this morning in the Hall of Flags at the Maine State House. "We thank those partners whose commitment and creativity save lives and promote the health of our rural residents."

The Department is promoting access to quality health care in Maine's rural and underserved communities through a Rural Health Transformation Initiative, a collaborative, statewide effort that has engaged a variety of stakeholders to improve telehealth, strengthen the rural health workforce, develop regional models of care, and change payment design to support the care needed in rural communities. We have hosted a series of listening sessions throughout the state to gather feedback that will shape this work moving forward.

Maine is well-positioned to successfully address our rural health challenges. Maine's rural health providers have a long history of working collaboratively to improve care and are recognized nationally for their quality of care. The Maine Rural Health and Primary Care program within the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention has facilitated communication among stakeholders on rural health issues, as part of its goal to increase access to primary, mental and dental health care, with a focus on rural and underserved areas.

A website, www.PowerofRural.org, has been established for rural health stakeholders to explore a partnership pledge, showcase individuals and organizations selected as 2019 Community Stars, and provide visitors with a variety of tools, including social media posts to help #PowerofRural trend in outlets such as Twitter and Facebook. The website also features how rural communities across the country are celebrating National Rural Health Day.