Letter to the editor: Hospitals in rural communities are especially at risk | SummitDaily.com

Letter to the editor: Hospitals in rural communities are especially at risk

Carl Ecklund

No part of the country, no matter how remote, will be shielded from the spread of COVID-19. While the virus is currently more widespread in cities and urban areas, rural communities need to prepare for when it inevitably hits smaller towns. Right now, rural Coloradans are at a disadvantage, unfortunately, lacking medical resources and access to hospitals. And this could become a major problem.

Rural hospitals are facing major revenue losses right now from the current precautionary measures of quarantine. Because of quarantine, they are losing staff and resources rapidly. As a result, rural residents will be more reliant on the nearest city hospitals for help since they have more resources and are on better financial footing. For me, the closest major hospital that holds a significant number of patients is located in Denver, which is 72 miles by car. That’s quite a far distance for someone seeking medical attention.

Fortunately, air medical services give those that live in rural areas a much faster route to hospitals, transporting patients in a fraction of the time. If hospitals get too crowded because of the new coronavirus or don’t have enough resources, air ambulances can transport patients to a more equipped facility. These life-saving services are indispensable for rural communities.

I strongly urge Sen. Cory Gardner to protect rural access to care and air ambulances during these challenging times as we try to prepare for what is heading to rural communities.

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