National Rural Health Association

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Official Policy Positions

The National Rural Health Association is a member-driven association, so our members set our policies and positions that we advocate for at a national level. All members of the association are able to participate in that process by submitting potential policy positions for consideration. Positions are then adopted by the Rural Health Congress, which is made up of a broad representation of our members. For more information and to participate in the process, visit our Policy Position Development page.

If you have questions about any of these positions, please contact NRHA's Government Affairs office at 202-639-0550 or

Official Policy Positions

The positions listed below are in the order they were originally adopted by the Rural Health Congress (formerly the Rural Health Policy Board). Positions that were adopted as part of the "Rural Health Careers Pipeline" series are in the chronological list as part of the series at the bottom of the page.


Allied Health, Paper #11 to the "The Rural Health Careers Pipeline" series, October 2008

American Indian and Alaska Native Health, November 2006

Behavioral Health, Paper #5 to the "The Rural Health Careers Pipeline" series, October 2008

Border Health, January 2010 

Broadband Access in Rural America, September 2012 

Comprehensive Quality Improvement in Rural Health Care, February 2015 (an update of the Comprehensive Quality Improvement in Rural Health Care policy paper passed in October 2007)

Defining the Issues and the Principles of Recruitment and Retention, Introduction to the "The Rural Health Careers Pipeline" series, January 2012

Definition of Rural, Policy Statement, April 2012

The National Rural Health Association strongly recommends that definitions of rural be specific to the purposes of the programs in which they are used and that these are referred to as programmatic designations and not as definitions. Programs targeting rural communities, rural providers, and rural residents do so for particular reasons, and those reasons should be the guidance for selecting the criteria for a programmatic designation (from among various criteria and existing definitions, each with its own statistical validity). This will ensure that a designation is appropriate for a specific program while limiting the possibilities that other unrelated programs adopt a definition, which is not created to fit that program.

Deleterious Impacts on Rural Multiracial and Multicultural Populations Related to the Devolution of Welfare Programs, April 2011

Dental Health Professionals in Alaska Rural Communities, Policy Statement, June 2006

The National Rural Health Association believes rural communities should have access to the most appropriately trained dental health professionals relative to the size and demographics of the community. In frontier Alaska, tribal programs experience a 25 percent annual vacancy rate and 30 percent annual turnover rate for dentists. And, Alaska Native children have 2.5 times more dental disease than all US races. Additionally, the geography of Alaska increases the cost of providing dental care and many villages face economic conditions that make support of a full-time dentist unfeasible. Therefore, the National Rural Health Association fully endorses the provision of oral health care via dental health aides and therapists in small, frontier communities in Alaska. Click here for the full text.

Designation of Frontier Health Professional Shortage Areas, April 2015 (an update of the Designation of Frontier Health Professional Shortage Areas passed in October 2007)

Elder Health in Rural America, February 2013

Electronic Health Record Implementation and Meaningful Use Adoption in Rural Hospitals and Physician Clinics, January 2012 

Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) and Telehealth in Critical Access Hospitals, May 2011

Farm Bill Reauthorization: Implications for the Health of Rural Communities, November 2006

FMG/J1 Visa Waiver PhysiciansFebruary 2014 

Food and Nutrition, January 2011

Frontier Definition, October 2008 

Future of the Frontier Extended Stay Clinic, February 2014

Future of Rural Behavioral HealthFebruary 2015  

Future of Rural Health, February 2013

Geographic Restrictions for Medicare Telehealth Reimbursement, May 2011

Graduate Medical Education for Rural Practice, a policy jointly adopted by the American Academy of Family Physicians, April 2014. This is an update of a May 2008 paper

Health Care Workforce Distribution and Shortage Issues in Rural America, January 2012

Health Disparity, Policy Statement, September 2014

A health disparity generally refers to a higher burden of illness, injury, disability, or mortality experienced by a population or group of people. The health disparity is linked with social, economic and/or an environmental disadvantage based on racial or ethnic group, religion, socioeconomic status, gender, age, mental health, sexual orientation, geographic location, or characteristics historically linked to discrimination or exclusion.

Health Home, October 2008

HIV/AIDS in Rural America: Disproportionate Impact on minority and Multicultural Populations, April 2014

Hospital Administration, Paper #10 to the "The Rural Health Careers Pipeline" series, May 2007

Inclusion of Primary Eye Care Services in the National Health Service Corps, October 2007

Issues of Preserving Rural Professional Quality of Life, Paper #14 to the "The Rural Health Careers Pipeline" series, May 2006 

Medicaid Reform: A Rural Perspective, September 2012 (an update of papers passed in May 2007April 2004 and May 2003)

Medicare Advantage for Rural America?, February 2007  

Oral Health, Paper #4 to the "The Rural Health Careers Pipeline" series, November 2006

Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians, Paper #3 to the "The Rural Health Careers Pipeline" series, May 2006

Pharmacy, May 2009

Physicians, Paper #1 to the "The Rural Health Careers Pipeline" series, November 2006

Physician Assistants, Paper #12 to the "The Rural Health Careers Pipeline" series, October 2008

Population Health in Rural Communities, April 2015 

Primary Eye Care, Paper #8 to the "Rural Health Careers Pipeline" series, October 2009

Primary Eye Care in Rural America, October 2007

Principles for Community Paramedicine Programs, September 2012 

Professional Liability Reform, September 2012 (an update of the April 2003 Professional Liability Reform paper)

Public Health Nursing: Strengthening the Core of Rural Public Health, January 2011

Public Safety Officer Benefit to Include Ambulance and Air Medical Crews, January 2008

Public Reporting of Hospital Quality in Rural Communities: An Initial Set of Key Issues, January 2012

Quality of Life Impacts the Recruitment and Retention of Rural Health ProvidersFebruary 2015 

Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, May 2006

Recruitment and Training of Racial/Ethnic Health Professionals in Rural America, February 2013 

Responsive Rural Health Delivery System, October 2008

Rural America's Oral Health Needs, February 2013 (an update of Meeting Oral Health Care Needs in Rural AmericaApril 2005)

Rural Economic Development, May 2009

Rural Graduate Medical Education, June 2003

Rural Health Careers Pipeline: Kindergarten to 12th Grade Education, Paper #7 to the "The Rural Health Careers Pipeline" series, February 2006

Rural Health Clinics, April 2014 (an update of the Rural Health Clinics paper from November 2006 and a paper passed February 1997)

Rural Health Information Technology, February 2006

Rural Health Preparedness, April 2011 (An update of the January 2002 Rural Health Preparedness paper)

Rural Health Professions, January 2004

Rural Hospital Participation in the Medicare Shared Savings Program, February 2013 

Rural Proofing Tool, September 2015 

Rural Public Health, June 2004

Rural Public Health, Paper #6 to the "The Rural Health Careers Pipeline" series, April 2007

Rural Veterans: A Special Concern for Rural Health Advocates, February 2014 (An update of a February 2007 paper and a paper passed in February 2004

Rural Women's Health, January 2013 (An update of the November 2005 Rural/Frontier Women's Access to Health Services paper)

Strengthening the Role of International Medical Graduates in Providing Access to Health Care for Rural America, March 2003

Streamlining Telemedicine Licensure to Improve Health, February 2013 

Telemedicine Reimbursement, May 2010

Telemedicine Credentialing, May 2010

Under-insurance, October 2009 

Recruitment and Retention of a Quality Health Workforce in Rural Areas

A series of policy papers on the Rural Health Careers Pipeline
These will be posted as they are approved in both this list and above in the chronological listing.

View archived Policy Positions »

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