“We actually call transportation health care now”

  • Date: 11/16/2023

Rural areas have reduced access to things people in cities might take for granted. From 2010 to 2021, 136 rural hospitals closed according to the American hospital association.

Shane McGuire, CEO of Columbia County Health System, said he has that fact in mind as he’s thinking about what people in the hospital district need.

The main challenge according to McGuire, is the low number of hospital beds available across the state of Washington.

He said the health care system has even been expanding what it considers care to things like childcare and has started working on developing a childcare center in an old wing formerly used as a nursing home. “Now instead of coming here because you're sick because you're not feeling well now you're coming here to drop your child off for childcare, for daycare,” he said.

He said for around 5,000 people in the hospital district services can be over 20 miles away. Transportation becomes a big hurdle for the people who are further out.“Transportation is another one. We really discovered that transportation is a hurdle to care. We actually call transportation health care now,” McGuire said.

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