Monday, November 14, 2016

Recognizing the Critical Health Care Provided by Rural Hospitals

(Salt Lake City, UT) – Since 2010, 71 rural hospitals across the country have closed, in part due to changes in policies which tend to reward hospitals that do a large volume of business. Fortunately, Utah’s rural hospitals have managed to escape a similar fate.

“Utah is one of the states in which a rural hospital has never closed,” said Dr. Don Wood, Director of the Office of Primary Care and Rural Health (OPCRH) Utah Department of Health (UDOH). “The hospitals and providers serving Utah’s small towns, farming communities, and frontier areas work hand-in-hand to address their health issues, and they provide some of the best medical services in America,”  added Wood.

Due to the critical services that are provided in Utah’s rural communities, Utah Governor Gary Herbert has declared November 13 - 19, 2016 as Rural Health Week in Utah, and the Office of Primary Care and Rural Health is celebrating with several activities, including its annual Rural Photo Contest (information on the contest can be found at and e-book Utah Community Star Stories. Through the declaration, the Governor calls for increased promotion and enhanced collaborative efforts to continue to improve the health of those who live, work, and play in rural Utah. 

As part of Utah Rural Health Week, UDOH will recognize three Utah rural hospitals that have ranked nationally for the quality of the services provided during the year. Those facilities
include Gunnison Valley Hospital in Gunnison, Utah, Milford Valley Memorial Hospital in Milford, Utah, and San Juan Hospital in Monticello, Utah. They are being recognized for their outstanding patient care.OPCRH offers programs that support the financial stability and improved quality of services in rural areas, particularly among Critical Access Hospitals (hospitals with up to 25 beds), Small Rural Hospitals (hospitals with up to 49 beds), Rural Health Clinics (primary care access points, especially for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries). One of these programs is the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program, which aims to improve quality of care and financial stability of hospitals and prevent closures.

For more information about rural health in Utah visit

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Media Contact:
Owen Quinonez
Community Health Specialist
Office (801) 273-6620
Cell (801) 560-5935