NRHA's Rural Health Voices blog offers informed commentary on the latest news in rural health care from NRHA staff and editorials from selected contributors.

Trump Administration Announces Five Pillar Approach to Make Health Care Costs More Transparent

Today, the Trump Administration announced an approach to make health care costs more transparent. “The President knows the best way to lower costs in health care is to put patients in control by increasing choice and competition,” Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar explained on a call promoting the new executive order. There are five main pillars to the executive order, and two of them are directly related to transparency of health care prices.

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Rural hospital masters what many large hospitals have not

In 2002, Meeker Memorial Hospital in Litchfield, Minn. – population 6,500 – was at risk of joining the growing number of rural hospitals in the U.S. unable to maintain positive profit margins. But a single phone call may have changed Litchfield’s fate. In an era where hospitals of all sizes are struggling to keep up with regulatory changes and shrinking reimbursements while providing high-quality care, – all while delivering quality outcomes and high patient...

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Rural Health Appropriations Update

This week, Congress has focused on finalizing debates regarding FY20 appropriations, and NRHA is proud to report that both chambers are seeking to include funds for a variety of necessary rural health programs in their legislation.

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Rural Maternal Health Week

This week, NRHA dedicated its messaging to highlighting challenges and opportunities to improving maternal health in rural America. The NRHA social media platforms shared messages aimed at increasing awareness of the health disparities faced by rural moms throughout the week, and on Wednesday, NRHA leadership attended an event hosted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services titled, “A Conversation on Maternal Health Care in Rural Communities: Charting a Path to Improved Access,...

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A year in review: NRHA and All of Us

NRHA is excited to join the celebration of All of Us’ one-year anniversary, which officially occured May 6. In the last thirteen months, the program has enrolled more than 200,000 participants, roughly 152,000 of whom have completed all of the initial steps of the protocol. All of Us is a historic, longitudinal effort to gather data from one million or more people living in the United States to accelerate research and improve health.

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NRHA Supports Changes to Improve Payments for Rural Hospitals

In April 2019, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma unveiled a proposal to increase Medicare’s reimbursements to hospitals in the bottom quartile of the wage index by decreasing payments to hospitals in the top quartile. This week, NRHA met with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and other key officials to discuss how to ensure this rule will impact rural Americans positively. NRHA strongly supports this change since it will decrease wage index...

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NRHA Urges Congress to Support Funding the Rural Health Safety Net

The Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health held a hearing this morning titled “Investing in America’s Health Care” to discuss funding for various programs that are essential to the rural health safety net. The hearing focused on 12 pieces of funding legislation, including H.R. 1943, the “Community Health Center and Primary Care Workforce Expansion Act of 2019”, which NRHA has been following closely. The hearing focused on how supporting stable funding for...

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Top Critical Access Hospitals Announced

NRHA is proud to announce the 20 highest-ranked critical access hospitals (CAHs) in the country, as determined by The Chartis Center for Rural Health. The determining factors for the Top 20 CAHs were based on the results of the Hospital Strength Index and its eight indices of performance: inpatient market share, outpatient market share, quality, outcomes, patient perspectives, cost, charge, and financial stability. An awards ceremony will be held during NRHA’s Critical Access Hospital...

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NRHA Supports Bipartisan Legislation to Eliminate Mileage Limitation for Critical Access Hospital Designation

NRHA strongly supports the bipartisan Rural Health Care Access Act introduced today by Rep. Mark Green of Tennessee’s 7th District and Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi’s 2nd District, which proposes removing the mileage limitation that restricts hospitals from receiving Critical Access Hospital (CAH) designation.

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Rural health care state of the union

NRHA’s Annual Rural Health Conference is back. Over a thousand rural health care leaders will convene May 7-10 in Atlanta to address some of the critical issues and emergencies facing rural hospitals, clinics, educators, and providers across the country. So what has changed since last year’s conference?

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