Health care systems, communities and social service organizations in rural parts of New Hampshire and Vermont have dealt well with the coronavirus and their efforts contributed to the low numbers of cases, according to a Dartmouth College report.
But the report issued this month found the coronavirus has taken a financial toll on health care organizations in the region.
"This study highlights the urgent need for strategic support to temper the devastating financial and social impacts of the crisis," according to the report that is part of a larger effort to understand health equity in northern New England amid the pandemic. "Left unsupported, the pandemic threatens the stability of already fiscally stressed rural health systems and communities."
Among the findings were that health care systems quickly responded to the outbreak and, along with communities and social services organizations, protected the most vulnerable populations. The report also praised the expanded use of telehealth, which the authors credited with reducing geographical barriers to care.