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Lake Okeechobee Rural Health Network (LORHN)

Our sister organization, Lake Okeechobee Rural Health Network, was formed in 1994 under Florida statute. Its mission is to respond to the needs of its rural residents, to reduce disparities in care and to improve access to quality health care for the rural residents Hendry, Glades, Okeechobee and the rural tracts of Martin and Palm Beach counties.

LORHN is also missioned to stimulate the financial viability of providers and communities within the Network, through planning and coordinated utilization of limited health care.

Rural residents have a higher rate of chronic health conditions and lower life expectancy than urban counterparts, due to heart disease, COPD, cancer, hypertension, stroke, diabetes, suicide. Higher than average obesity rates prevail even among the youngest. Rural residents suffer homelessness and poverty as a more chronic sustained state, with average per capita rural income $7,417 lower than urban. Rural communities have a low supply of healthcare providers, esp. specialists-neurologists, dentists, anesthesiologists, psychiatrists. Inequities of health care access exist, with higher rates of rural uninsured, and challenges of culture, language, literacy, transportation. Overall, rural residents are older, poorer and sicker (2014 Rural Chart book).

LORHN’s role as a Rural Health Network is that of coordinating limited services, and judiciously increasing resources, to reduce disparities in the availability of equitable health care to rural communities.

LORHN collaborates with its member and partner agencies to implement initiatives and strategies that increase access to and reduce obstacles to an optimum range of health care services across its Network. LORHN promotes evidence-supported models of care to positively impact overall community health, enhance the quality of health care, and support efforts to increase training to health care professionals, to create stable retention of qualified professionals in Professional Shortage and Medically Underserved Areas often consistent with rurality.

For more information about LORHN, please contact Tiffany Parrish at (561) 844-4220 x1500 or tparrish@hcsef.org.