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How Rural Pharmacy Closures Impact Communities

Follow Chris Crisman Rural Medicine is a term we hear a great deal about. In fact, the Michigan Health Council has featured reports and news stories about rural primary care delivery almost a dozen times.However, to ensure high quality health for patients – not just health or primary care – we need to look at more than just the “doctor’s visit.”

A very interesting report from the Rural Policy Research institute highlights the impact rural pharmacy closures have on rural communities.

Just as broader economic trends create incentives for physicians and nurses to practice in urban communities, the economics of pharmacy and lifestyle preferences for pharmacists make replacing retiring rural pharmacists difficult.

The report studied six rural communities and found five of them closed due to retirements and difficulties recruiting a replacement.

Access to medications is now a great concern for those in greatest need: the disabled and elderly, who may lack the ability to safely travel to neighboring communities or lack support systems for someone else to pick up or deliver their medications.

Health care policy makers need to continue to build bridges across “siloed” professions to ensure that all residents have access to high quality health care services.



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