Letter to the Editor: 2022 Maryland Rural Health Day
CONTACT: Charlotte Davis
Thursday, November 17, 2022, has been proclaimed National Rural Health Day by the National Organization of
State Offices of Rural Health as a way to showcase the good work of America’s 62 million rural citizens and to
promote the efforts of the Maryland State Office of Rural Health, and other partners in addressing rural health
concerns. Governor Hogan has proclaimed November 17, 2022, as Maryland Rural Health Day.
This Maryland Rural Health Day we plan to examine gaps in availability of transportation in accessing health
care and wellness services throughout the State. While most Marylanders have access to reliable transportation,
there are many that do not in both rural and urban areas. In 2023, the Maryland Transit Administration estimates
that the Locally Operated Transit Systems will provide 22,081 rides, however, the estimated demand for services
is far greater. Washington County alone reports 65 years and older population of 26,006 individuals.
Improving access to transportation and transit services addresses the social determinants of health which are
non-medical factors that influence health outcomes. They are conditions that are an important influence on
health inequities in our State.
Providing health and wellness transportation services reduces long-term health costs by ensuring that members
of the community receive necessary medical services and also ancillary services such as dental, mental, and
pharmacy services. The Rural Maryland Council, the Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland, Maryland
State Office of Rural Health and the Maryland Rural Health Association partnered together to host a series of
roundtables to identify barriers to transportation access and potential policy solutions. As we meet for a final
roundtable on National Rural Health Day, we will consider policy recommendations for the incoming Moore
Administration and the Maryland General Assembly.
Rural Marylanders face transportation challenges related to accessing health and wellness appointments. Our
communities are stepping up and finding creative ways to address the problem. Together we can improve the
quality of life throughout our State and reduce health disparities in rural, urban and suburban Maryland.
Visit https://www.powerofrural.org/ or https://health.maryland.gov/pophealth/Pages/National-.aspx to support
National Rural Health Day and the Maryland State Office of Rural Health.
Charlotte Davis John Hartline
RMC Executive Director RMC Executive Board Chair