‘Plug into the Power of Rural’ is a mantra for National Rural Health Day on November 21, 2019. National Rural Health Day was founded by the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) as a way to showcase rural America, increase awareness of rural health-related challenges, and promote the efforts of those who are addressing those challenges.


An estimated 57 million people – nearly one in five Americans – live in rural and frontier communities throughout the United States. An assessment by The Texas Organization of Rural and Community Hospitals (TORCH), states that in the 1960s there were 300 hundred rural hospitals, and as of September 2019 it is down to 158 rural hospitals. Since 2010 there has been 26 rural hospital closures that have occurred in 22 communities.


NOSORH speaks of the importance of rural communities need to address accessibility issues, a lack of healthcare providers, the needs of the aging population suffering from a greater number of chronic conditions, and larger percentages of un – and underinsured citizens.


Castro County Healthcare District understands this importance and has found ways to help create many local health opportunities for our community. Through the Medical Center of Dimmitt, the community has access to four physicians, Dr. Hardee, Dr. Chamblee, Dr. Alvarez, and Dr. Matos; along with three Nurse Practitioners, Peggy Birkenfeld, Sheila Higgins, and Susan Hochstein. They also offer a Chronic Care Management program with Rita McDaniel, BSN, RN.


Plains Memorial Hospital is a Level IV Trauma Center staffed with highly skilled nurses and physicians, with a 24-hour emergency room where the staff is trained in Advanced Cardiac Life Support and Pediatric Advanced Life Support. They can also help you get better at home with their Swing Bed program. The Swing Bed program not only provides skilled nursing care but also rehabilitation services through their onsite Rehab Department.


The expert physical, occupational, and speech therapy team of Welch Rehab specializes in multiple services not only in their facility, but at Plains Memorial Hospital, and Country View Living, the new long-term living facility.


CCHD recognized the increasing need for a locally accountable senior living facility due to the rural areas increase in aging population. A community-wide study brought validation of the need for the new senior living facility in Dimmitt.


“The hospitals and providers serving these rural communities not only provide quality patient care, but they also help keep good jobs in rural America,” says Teryl Eisinger, NOSORH CEO.


CCHD is one of the larger employers in Castro County with around 200 employees throughout all of their departments. With a third of that being added on since March of 2019 at the opening of Country View Living. Based on TORCH’s assessment, out of the 158 rural hospitals there are 26,900 jobs a year and those employees provided care to 3.1 million Texans.



TORCH states that every Texan should be concerned about rural hospitals as rural areas provide the food, fuel, and fiber for the entire state; as well as being traveled through by everyone at one time or another.


When you get sick think of your local clinic. When you need urgent care, think of your local hospital. When you need therapy after a surgery or injury think of your local rehabilitation team. When you or a family member are reaching the time for 24-hour skilled nursing care think of your local long-term living facility. CCHD is here to provide you the care you need at home in every age of life, there is ‘power in rural’ and there is power in CCHD!