Established by the Florida Legislature in 1991 (Chapter 381.0405, Florida Statutes), the Florida Office of Rural Health is charged with addressing the particular healthcare needs of the state's rural citizens. Currently, the Office is staffed by two positions: the Director of the Office of Rural Health and a Critical Access Hospital Coordinator.
In general, the Office of Rural Health is assigned the responsibility for the following:
Since 1997, the Office of Rural Health has been focused on three key programs within rural health; the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program, the Rural Hospital Capital Improvement Program, and the development and support of the state's statutory Rural Health Networks.
As of the 2000 Census, 33 of Florida's 67 counties are considered rural based on the statutory definition of an area with a population density of less than 100 individuals per square mile or an area defined by the most recent United States Census as rural. In area, these 33 counties cover just over 42 percent of Florida's nearly 54,000 square miles of land area. Rural counties are located primarily in the Florida Panhandle, north central Florida, the south central portion of the state, and the Florida Keys. Approximately 1.1 million of Florida's 16 million citizens live in those rural counties. Portions of other Florida counties also contain large, rural areas but are not classified as rural. Many of the counties bordering on the Atlantic and Gulf have populations concentrated near the coast, but thinly populated interiors (e.g., Collier, Palm Beach, or Escambia counties.) To take these rural populations into account, several of the statutory Rural Health Networks include them in their service areas.
Use the links below to learn more about Rural Health in Florida:
For more information write or
FX: (850) 922-6296
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