Persistent challenges encompass the longstanding realities of rural health care including low patient volume a heavy reliance on government payers and an older population with more chronic conditions among others. What are some important rural health issues chna o health care workforce shortages 28 of 39 o obesity and physical inactivity 16 of 39 o mental health incsubstance abuse 15 o chronic disease management 12 o higher costs of health care for consumers 11 o financial viability of the hospital 10 o aging population services 9. Rural communities continue to face health challenges and disparities with higher percentages of preventable deaths higher rates of medicare and medicaid populations and much fewer providers. Interagency cooperation aged care and transport issues were the next three highest ranked themes within the theme of workforce the main issues raised by participants were general lack of qualified and trained health providers in many rural areas a fall in recruitment in some disciplines and an ageing workforce particularly in nursing
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