I feel like we’ve unleashed rural health care cheering and jeering sections on our Facebook page.
Hurrahs for Rochester and Springfield. Jeff prefers the clinic in Pine City to being treated in Brainerd. Carrie bypasses Waseca to go to Mankato. Angie is happy with the primary care in Fosston.
The comments were prompted after we asked nine rural health providers around the state to tell us about barriers their patients face. The nine gave us compelling examples of patients foregoing care to save money or because distances were great.
(You can hear my conversation with Phil Picardi on today’s Morning Edition about them.)
The ensuing comments on Facebook are energetic, with ratings ranging from “scary” to “excellent.” One person describes mistreatment of pneumonia while another points to good results from a gall bladder surgery.
It’s useful to remember that most people rate their hospitals highly in the national satisfaction survey administered by the federal government, the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems. Minnesota facilities rank higher than the national average on these surveys and, in fact, some of the highest ranking hospitals, when it comes to customer satisfaction, are rural hospitals.
That’s often attributed to the personal touch and familiarity with patients that smaller institutions provide, although one commenter said she preferred to go somewhere where she could be more anonymous.
If you have a thought, join in.