La Grande. Ore – Living and serving in the Grande Ronde Valley, every day is a rural health day at Grande Ronde Hospital and Clinics (GRH). Once a year, on the third Thursday in November, we are honored to celebrate National Rural Health Day as we join with other organizations just like ours that are spread across the nation.
Founded by the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH), National Rural Health Day works to increase awareness of the specific health-related challenges rural communities often face. This year, NOSORH has chosen to focus on “Advancing Behavioral Health Equity in Rural Communities.” Their 2022 statement reads in part:
Behavioral health care remains a challenge in many rural communities due to stigma, lack of transportation, reimbursement issues, and limited workforce. This year, we’re highlighting innovative ways rural communities address these challenges and expand access to behavioral health care services for those who need them the most.
For 114 years, GRH has traditionally operated ahead of the healthcare trends curve and planned for meeting both current and future needs in our communities right here at home. It is exactly this foresight that allowed us to expand our behavioral health services in the spring of 2021, with the acquisition of a successful 30-year outpatient mental health treatment center. Today, the GRH Behavioral Health Clinic offers the services of 11 care providers and a great support staff, seeing patients at our four primary care clinic locations across the Grande Ronde Valley.
“It was a long time in the planning, so we knew the positive impact expanding behavioral health services would have for our patients here in Union County,” said GRH President and CEO Jeremy Davis. “To have the national rural health organization focus for 2022 be improving behavioral health in rural communities is validation that GRH not only understands our communities, but we also work proactively to address the needs of the whole patient.”
Traditionally, rural Americans have had less access to behavioral health services. Because these past few years have impacted all of us in ways we are only beginning to fully understand, the unique challenges drove GRH early on to embrace outside-the-box innovation and forward-thinking strategies to address the anticipated needs.
“We know our communities; we know our neighbors. We all work together here in this beautiful northeast corner of Oregon to support and improve our rural lifestyle. Expanding and improving access to health care has been core to the GRH mission for more than a decade and I am grateful for the foundation that was set. And I am proud of the collaborative work we are doing right now here today, as well as the innovative vision we have for the future of health care in rural Northeast Oregon,” added Davis.