By CAROLINE BECK, Alabama Daily News
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Alabama’s Black Belt counties have less physical access to health care options and the state overall is suffering poor health outcomes, according to a recent report released by the University of Alabama’s Education Policy Center.
The EPC’s definition of the Black Belt includes 24 counties, and Monday’s report, “Health Care: A Key Challenge in Alabama’s Black Belt,” said 17 of them have fewer than the statewide average of 3.9 hospital beds per 1,000 people.
Four Black Belt counties, Lamar, Lowndes, Perry and Pickens, don’t have any hospitals.
“These data suggest that the Black Belt is largely underserved in terms of health care,” the report says. “Specifically, it indicates that Black Belt residents lack physical access to health care, i.e. the nearest hospital or