We all must care for each other

Today, The News concluded a four-day series, “Caring for Northeast Michigan,” that took a deep-dive look at the challenges of providing timely and complete health care in rural, lower-populated areas such as ours.

The gist of the reporters’ findings is this: When we chose to call this beautiful region our home, we agreed to certain tradeoffs. When you’re one of only 1,200 residents in a township and are enjoying the room to roam, you may also have to wait longer for an ambulance to arrive if an emergency arises. When you live a small city where you’re more likely to a get a neighborly wave at the grocery store, you’re also less likely to be close to a hospital that can perfrom complex and rare procedures such as neurosurgery.

Also clear from the reporters’ work is that our providers of health care and emergency medical services are making great strides in using teamwork, such as mutual aid agreements and other partnerships, and technology, such as telemedicine, to overcome those obstacles. We commend those efforts and encourage on health care leaders to look for every opportunity to expand such programs to continuously improve the speed and quality of health care here.

What stands out most to us, however, is that each and every one of us plays a role in improving health care overall. Here’s how you can help:

∫ Vote yes. Ambulance and other 911 services aren’t free. Nor are they required to be provided. We encourage you to support property taxes for emergency medical services. You never know when you or your neighbor might need them.

∫ Volunteer. Throughout the series, 911 officials made clear they are always in need of more help, and we encourage you to volunteer any way you can. Go through the training to be a medical first responder. Help out at the hospital. Volunteer with support groups for persons with behavioral health issues.

∫ Take care of yourself. We all should do our part to make 911 services less necessary. Eating right, exercising, and the like can help us stay healthy and avoid taxing the health care system. And learning basic first aid can help us protecting our friends and loved ones until help arrives.

Living in God’s Country comes with a trade off for certain things big city folks take for granted.

In our mind, that’s a trade we’d make any day.



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