Oblong to open new health clinic

OBLONG, Ill. (WTHI) In the United States more than 45 million people live in rural areas. Right here in the Wabash Valley a fair amount of folks live more than a half hour’s drive to receive full hospital care.

It’s got local hospitals looking at ways to give them medical attention in their own backyards.

Farm lands and fields are the backbone of the Midwest economy but, when it comes to healthcare the wide open spaces create a problem.

“As you probably know healthcare tends to be concentrated in larger urban areas, so the rural areas like we’re in tend to be under-served both in terms of clinicians, practitioners and also facilities to practice in,” Don Annis of Crawford Memorial Hospital said.

While the days of house calls have gone, Wabash Valley hospitals have hit upon a different strategy to get to those hard reach folks: satellite clinics.

That’s what brings folks just outside Oblong Tuesday, to get a first look at a new health clinic.

“This fulfills a long term plan and perhaps a dream of ours at the hospital to build a replacement facility,” Annis said. “(One) that’s state of the art and meets the needs of additional practitioners we want to have here in the western part of the county and in a facility that is state of the art and meets the needs of the community.”

As the community came in, they got a glimpse of the future of healthcare in rural Illinois. Folks like Oblong mayor Randy Rich, who feels a little safer knowing the medical outpost is nearby.

“I’ve been lucky; I’ve not had to go to the doctor or the hospital hardly at all in the last several years,” Rich said. “But some of my family has, so it’s very nice that there is a place we can go to that we trust.”

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