WDAM-TV Hattiesburg
CDC bill looks to bring better health care to rural areas
By Trey Howard
PINE BELT, Miss. (WDAM) - Healthcare help is on the horizon for many living in rural parts of the country- including people in Mississippi.
President Joseph Biden signed a bill last month that will focus on providing proper medical assistance to less urbanized states, like Mississippi.
“For us, seeing this kind of promotion at the federal level is exciting for us,” said Dr. Italo Subbarao, William Carey University Dean of Osteopathic Medicine. “Because we’re out there trying to do it at the local level, and now this gives us, hopefully in the future, some resources we can tap into and leverage to improve the health of our communities.”
The law creates the Centers for Disease Control Prevention Office of Rural Health.
The bill was backed by Mississippi U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith after noticing the response to the COVID-19 pandemic was less than effective in certain areas of the country.
Local physicians also noted that, because of the poor response, many chose to battle their illness without the help of medical professionals.
“So many people didn’t have primary doctors to go to, and a lot of them are fighters,” Dr. Sam Dabit said. “‘I’ll go take some over-the-counter medication and hopefully I can kick this and it’s not going to be so bad.’
“When they do get ill enough, when they really are sick, they end up flooding the ERs and urgent cares. Urgent cares will look at the patient and say that you really need to go to the hospital.”
So what will this new Office of Rural Health do?
Leaders are still working out all of the specifics, but the goal is to get more medical services and doctors in the rural communities.
Several members of congress joined Sen. Hyde-Smith in sending a letter outlining what critical areas need to be addressed.