We’re all aware that it can be difficult for some regions of the United States to attract enough top-tier providers to meet the needs of smaller communities. JUCM has been covering this issue for years, in fact (see Rural and Tertiary Markets: The Next Urgent Care Frontier). And that’s during “normal” times. Lack of access, sometimes poor healthcare literacy, and the politicization of COVID-19 has put an inordinate amount of additional stress on rural health providers. The problem may be especially prevalent in southern states, Mississippi certainly among them. No one knows that better than Mary Williams, DNP, FNP-BC, founder and CEO of Urgent & Primary Care of Clarksdale (MS). As detailed in an article published in the Clarion Ledger, a local newspaper in the area, Williams (like many healthcare providers) hoped the virus would run its course before having much of an impact on her community. Also like many other healthcare providers, she soon realized that was just wishful thinking. With the only local emergency room packed, she and her staff had to dig deep to provide quality, compassionate care while running COVID-19 tests and administering vaccines as their typical volume of 15 to 20 patients a day nearly doubled. But, as noted in the Clarion Ledger piece, the hard times have brought the community together and deepened their appreciation for the UPCC crew. As the year closes with COVID-19 causing more havoc and stress than ever, take a moment to acknowledge that your efforts make a difference in your own community.

Pandemic Challenges Can Be Met—and Overcome. Here’s the Evidence