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Winter 2004

Northern California’s Rural Communities Face Health Care Challenges

ealth problems and difficulties accessing care in California’s major urban regions command attention because of the large numbers of people affected. But sparsely populated rural areas – where approximately one-seventh of the state’s residents live – present their own set of challenges to health care providers.

Poverty is pervasive in rural communities, and patients often must travel long distances to health care facilities, which are seldom equipped to meet the full spectrum of their health and human service needs. Almost 20 percent of rural residents lack health insurance and rely on Medi-Cal. A significant percentage of rural residents do not speak English, which complicates access to health care.

“While government officials and legislators struggle with budget shortfalls, safety net providers in underserved rural areas of Northern California are being stretched to the breaking point as they struggle to provide health care and social services to the rural poor,” said Gary L. Yates, president and CEO of The California Wellness Foundation (TCWF). “Foundations can be of assistance by providing core operating support to safety net providers, especially during difficult economic times.”

TCWF has provided grants for core operating support to a variety of health care programs meeting the needs of Northern California’s diverse communities. The following are just a few examples of TCWF-funded organizations working in the northeast corner of the state.

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TCWF Announces New Board Appointments

Barbara C. Staggers, M.D., was appointed to the Foundation's board of directors in January. New officers were also elected. Visit In The News section to read more about these appointments.

 
 
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