President Trump Signs New Executive Order to Improve Rural Health

Last night, President Trump signed an executive order to enhance the health of all Americans by improving access to care, particularly for those living in rural areas. The National Rural Health Association (NRHA) applauds the ‘Executive Order on Improving Rural Health and Telehealth Access’ and hopes that Congress will contribute to the momentum made by President Trump in future legislative packages. 

“NRHA is extremely grateful to the Trump Administration for their recent efforts to support the health care of the 60 million Americans living in rural areas. While details of the executive order are forthcoming, NRHA is calling upon Congress to follow the Administration’s lead and quickly provide necessary relief for struggling rural providers in the short-term.”

NRHA CEO Alan Morgan -

Following the announcement by President Trump, Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Eric Hargan hosted a call with various rural health stakeholders, including NRHA, to discuss the details of the executive order. On the call, Deputy Secretary Hargan discussed the timeline for future administrative action, including the release of a new rural payment model through the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) and the extension of telehealth flexibilities. Details were scarce, as they are still being written, but we anticipate the new payment model to be released in the next few weeks. Additionally, we anticipate the extension of Medicare telehealth flexibilities beyond the public health emergency.  

NRHA is excited that the Administration is taking action to safeguard rural health, and we are optimistic that a new rural payment model could serve as a stabilizing lifeline for providers. However, we are still concerned about the short-term longevity of several vulnerable rural providers. Congress has an opportunity to stabilize these providers while we await the unveiling of a new, rural payment model. We are requesting that Congress follow in the footsteps of the Administration to provide immediate relief and support to rural providers in the next COVID-19 relief package.