COVID-19 upended lives, but perhaps was most greatly felt by those in rural communities. In Arkansas, where 2 in 5 of us live in rural areas, ensuring equitable care has been paramount for Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, not just during COVID-19, but beyond.
Rural health is an equity issue
Dr. Creshelle Nash, medical director for Health Equity and Public Programs, knows that rural health is an equity issue. It is deeply personal to her and an area where she continues to make her mark. In a recent discussion with NIHCM, she outlined how her role means asking the right questions including what barriers we need to address, and ultimately, “who are we missing?”
Health equity means that everyone should have the opportunity to be as healthy as possible. It means addressing a person’s next meal, where their child goes for childcare, access to safe neighborhoods, and so on. And it requires understanding the problem to develop meaningful rural health equity solutions so that no one in our state is missed.
Under her leadership, Arkansas Blue Cross is working to infuse equity into all of our policies and programs, with a strategic focus on rural areas like the Delta. Because if we can increase the quality of care, reduce costs, and improve access for rural and underserved communities, we can improve the health of all Arkansans.
Watch Dr. Nash’s full video on the intersection of rural health and equity.