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National Rural Health Day Spotlights Telemedicine’s Potential to Save Small-Town Hospitals

Nov. 21, 2019 (Dallas, Texas) – Leading the nation in rural hospital closures, Texas is a bellwether for rural health care, but with updated payment regulations and new technology, telemedicine offers a solution.

Twenty-six hospitals in 22 rural Texas communities have closed in recent years, leaving their residents without access not only to emergency and inpatient services but also often clinic, rehabilitation and primary care services as well. Following a rural hospital closure, local mortality rates increase by as much as six percent.

Thoughtfully implemented, high quality telemedicine service lines can prevent additional closures and diminished access to care. Access Physicians works with rural hospitals to identify clinical needs and build financially sustainable telemedicine programs of excellence that give rural residents access to specialty care, such as pulmonary & critical care, acute stroke and general neurology, infectious disease and psychiatry, close to home.

“There’s no reason that someone’s zip code should determine their access to the best clinical resources,” said Chris Gallagher, M.D., CEO, Access Physicians. “Rural hospitals are vital to their communities, and we are proud to work with them to make sure their patients have the same level of access and care that urban residents have.”

For example, Access Physicians worked with the hospital in Cuero County, which is one of many rural counties in Texas with no psychiatrists, to build a telemedicine psychiatry program. Residents needing mental health care no longer have to travel outside of the county for treatment. It also worked with the hospital in Lake Granbury to build telemedicine programs in pulmonary & critical care, acute stroke and general neurology and infectious disease, allowing the hospital to care for high-acuity patients and coordinate all of their care needs locally.

“Access Physicians’ first programs were launched in rural Texas, where we saw firsthand the transformative power of a well-designed telemedicine program to both enhance clinical care and improve the bottom line,” said Eduardo Vadia, M.D., co-founder and managing partner, Access Physicians. “Our telemedicine programs combine secure technology, scalable clinical programs and quality physician services to deliver clinical excellence to even the most remote rural communities.”

Endorsed by both the Texas Hospital Association and Texas Organization of Rural and Community Hospitals, Access Physicians works with more than 150 hospitals across the country.