Maryland Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford visited Carroll County on Thursday, meeting with county officials and the leadership of Access Carroll, in Westminster, to mark Rural Health Day in Maryland.
It’s a day in recognition of the unique challenges Maryland rural communities face in meeting health needs, especially those of low-income people, according to a media release from Rutherford’s office.
“Our administration is committed to improving health care issues facing rural communities,” Rutherford is quoted as having said in the release. “With 18 rural jurisdictions in Maryland, it is imperative to continue the conversation around rural health needs and obstacles throughout Maryland.”
Tammy Black, executive director of Access Carroll, was impressed and excited about her meeting with Rutherford.
“I can’t tell you how encouraging it was to hear a leader at his level articulate so beautifully not only the issues but also some solutions,” Black said in an interview Thursday afternoon. “It was his scope and his comprehension of rural communities’ needs and how they are unique from the more urban areas of the state.”
One example? Transportation, which Black said is a huge problem for many of the low-income people living in Carroll County, which Access Carroll serves.
“We talked about Ubers, we talked about on-demand services and fixed route services. We talked about different ways of getting a person from here to there without having to employ a large fleet system the way that more densely populated areas can do,” Black said. “They do it well, but it doesn’t always work for rural counties like Carroll.”
Rutherford also took the time to ask about best practices and to learn more about the collaborative culture in Carroll County, Black said, the way Access Carroll, the Health Department, Carroll Hospital and the Partnership for a Healthier Carroll County work together regularly.
“We live here so we’re used to it, but other communities covet the opportunity to be able to sit down at the same table and actually get work done between public and private health partners,” Black said.