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Ease of Healthcare Access in North Iowa

by: Rachel Smith Wumkes

Moving to a new state, or even just a new city, can be stressful.  There are so many questions to be answered, so many uncertainties and unknowns as you navigate through every aspect of choosing a new place to live. 

Because believe it or not… it’s not just about finding the perfect house.  There are added anxieties of changing banks, scoping out the restaurants around town, finding a new hairdresser and grocery store. 

But what about the accessibility to healthcare? 

It’s often thought of as a ‘given’ in many communities, something you simply need to find after you move.  However, in today’s changing world, access to healthcare is at the forefront of importance when looking to relocate.

Webster’s dictionary defines having access to healthcare as the timely use of personal health services to achieve the best possible health outcomes.  Seems simple enough, right?

Let’s break that down. 

Timely – meaning people do not want to have to travel for hours to receive simple, routine exams.  Having primary care physicians located within a reasonable commute is key for many people.  Especially as you continue to age.  The ability to simply hop in the car and jet off to the doctor becomes increasingly difficult.

Best possible – reputation is everything, even in the healthcare industry.  People believe what they hear, and it will sway their opinion on healthcare facilities. 

Thankfully, in North Iowa, there is a plethora of healthcare options littered across the region.  A key element in said options is thanks to MercyOne.  Something of a powerhouse in the healthcare industry, their services spread throughout the North Iowa area.  While centralized with the hospital in Mason City, they provide a variety of health services in smaller, surrounding communities, granting accessibility to anyone who is in need of the service. 

This is vital in boosting a number of communities within the North Iowa region.  While many doctors are leaving their small practices around the country, MercyOne has enabled physicians to stay in these outlying communities while still being part of the bigger picture.  Utilizing their extensive resources from the main campus to better serve the public in these smaller, rural communities.

Quality of life plays a big role in keeping North Iowa a thriving, vibrant place to live, work and play, and healthcare access is a critical, key component in achieving just that.  And while access to medical care does not guarantee good health, it is critical for well-being and ideal health of those within the community.  Having routine check-ups helps prevent long-term, chronic issues when caught in advance.  Educational resources to provide better knowledge of health and wellness habits are available as well, helping people make good health choices to improve overall well-being.

In 2020, Iowa was ranked as the 8th best state for healthcare accessibility.  Cerro Gordo County, in particular, came in at #11 after an analysis done by U.S. News and World Report (in collaboration with the Aetna Foundation).  The ranking was based on three main metrics: percentage of people without health insurance, availability of hospital beds for those who need care, and access to primary care providers to deliver care.

As times continue to change, it’s become a realization of many that our digital world can connect us to anywhere.  Thus, the ‘work from home’ era has arrived, making the choice available for many people to decide where they want to live.  For young families making this choice, the concept of accessibility to healthcare might not be top of mind; however, it should be. 

Having healthcare options at your fingertips is not just for the sick or elderly.  In fact, studies have shown regular visits with a primary care physician are vital to one’s health.  Benefits include prevention of disease and disability, ability to detect and treat illnesses or other health conditions early, an increase in the overall quality of life, and reduced the likelihood of premature death. 

But it’s not just the access to healthcare that is important.  It’s having proper insurance and the ability to pay for the service. 

Thankfully, the North Iowa region is a hotbed of employment opportunities, ensuring workers have adequate options for insurance, and offering competitive pay for the economic well-being of the bigger picture, completing the trifecta for optimum health opportunities.

Moving to a new place can often feel like you’ve dumped out a box of puzzle pieces onto a table, making a mess of unorganized chaos that is jumbled together.  It can be overwhelming.  Where do you start?  One by one, you begin to search for matching pieces, and begin to find where they belong, binding them together in a way that creates a beautiful picture. 

Or, in this case, a beautiful life. 

Thankfully, Jane Fischer and her team of licensed agents is here to help you sort through the pieces.  To assist in putting each one in its rightful place, one at a time.  To begin putting your pieces together in the North Iowa area, give them a call today!  

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