Access to high-quality health care, including both preventive and sick care, is a crucial component of living a healthy life— and every North Carolinian deserves access to quality care, regardless of socioeconomic status, zip code, ability, or any other factor. The COVID-19 pandemic, has highlighted the importance that local hospitals have in rural communities, as well as the need for expanded telehealth services in underserved areas. Furthermore, virtual access to health providers does not and should not supersede the clear gap in access to a variety of healthcare providers within our rural communities. While there are clear challenges here, our state has made steady strides in the right direction. Together, we must continue to do our part to support the health of our communities
Policy Recommendations: Stabilize and Transform Rural Health
- Close the health insurance coverage gap in North Carolina.
- Expand funding and efforts to recruit and retain a diverse rural healthcare workforce, including specialists in underserved areas of the state.
- Advance legislation such as the SAVE Act to attract and retain mid-level health care providers to rural areas by allowing full practice authority and increasing scope of practice.
- Address access to care barriers for standard, telehealth, and behavioral health care services and advance coverage parity efforts.
- Advance broad-based solutions for mental health and substance use disorders that address both prevention and treatment.
- Support the Healthy North Carolina 2030 attainment goals that seek to holistically address and improve the health, safety, and well-being of North Carolinians.