Medical Center Barbour is celebrating National Rural Health Day on Thursday, Nov. 18, with hospitals and other healthcare providers across the state and nation. This year’s theme of resiliency, resolve, readiness, and relationships highlights the critical role rural hospitals play not only in times of crisis, such as the pandemic, but every day in their communities.
Lynn Mergen, CEO of Medical Center Barbour stated, “a rural hospital is critical in America. In our case, without Medical Center Barbour, everyone in this area would be forced to drive at least an hour for their care and in many cases, people don’t have that much time. I’m proud to be a part of this team of extraordinary individuals who deliver exceptional care to those who come to us in their time of need.”
Rural hospitals comprise about half of the hospitals in Alabama and provide care to two million citizens annually. “At Medical Center Barbour, we treat approximately 1,300 to 1,400 inpatients each year and over 16,500 patients through our emergency department each year. We also treat over 34,000 patients through our outpatient clinics each year, including through our MCB Wound Care Clinic, Specialty Clinic, General Surgery Clinic, and Family Care Clinics,” said Lynn Mergen, “In addition, we are a major employer, providing over 250 full and part time jobs.”
In addition to the healthcare services and employment benefits, the hospital is a huge economic engine in the local area. For every $1 spent by the hospital, another $2.20 is generated. Using that formula, Medical Center Barbour produces an economic impact of $24,200,000.00 annually.
“While rural hospitals have always been critical components of the healthcare infrastructure and of local economies, their importance has never been more evident than with COVID-19,” said Don Williamson, MD, president of the Alabama Hospital Association. “The pandemic required all hospitals, rural and urban alike, working together to care for patients. While some patients may have required transfers, many were able to be treated in their local, rural hospital. Please join me this week in celebrating the essential value of rural hospitals and healthcare.”