STREATOR — While it’s been a focus for OSF HealthCare for many years, the delivery of medical services in a rural community like Streator is only recently gathering momentum across the United States, according to an OSF Health press release.

That resulted in the creation of the Root Cause Coalition, a group of health care organizations aimed at identifying ways to address the social determinants that impact how health care is provided to rural residents and establishing collaborative partnerships to accomplish it.

As part of the Root Cause Coalition, members of Live Well Streator, the volunteer group aimed at directing the health care delivery model, recently attended the National Summit on Social Determinants of Health.

“It’s always great to share information and what people are finding regarding best practices,” says Ken Beutke, president of OSF HealthCare Saint Elizabeth Medical Center. “It was very good timing for us. Allowing us to reach out and get more information about what’s worked and what hasn’t.”

The Rural Health Care Initiative began shortly after OSF HealthCare established the Center for Health – Streator three years ago. Since then, OSF Medical Group has transformed its primary care model, a major renovation of the Center for Health is well underway, OSF helped finance an expansion of the Streator Family YMCA and Live Well Streator has been established.

Committee chair Janette Strabala says the summit was an eye opener for her and confirmed that Streator is not the only community struggling with this challenge. But she’s proud of the progress that Live Well Streator has made - like the three work groups tackling the issues of activity, healthier eating and addiction services.

“Being a health care provider and nurse, I want to make sure our community is as healthy as it can be,” says Strabala. “Finding ways to provide every aspect of medical care for our rural community.”

Beutke says transitioning the Center for Health Phase 3 cardiac patient independent exercisers to the Y is a good example of how important it is to work together and not duplicate services.

“Because nobody has the resources nowadays within rural communities to be competing or duplicating the cost that comes with those services.”

The Y is only one of several health and wellness organizations that have and will be partnering with OSF as part of this initiative. Part of the buy-in that has Strabala excited.

“More education and understanding is needed,” she admits, “but the community is getting involved.”

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