Brand: Rural health, we’ve got your back

Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) Deputy Administrator Marcia Brand kicked off NRHA’s 22nd Annual Rural Health Policy Institute today in D.C.

"Between Marcia Brand from West Virginia and Mary Wakefield (HRSA administrator) from North Dakota, I can assure you, rural health, we've got your back,” she said.

She told nearly 400 rural health advocates about the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) impact on rural health from insurance to infrastructure.

“Expanding coverage to the uninsured is critical, but it won’t matter if we don’t have providers in rural America to care for them,” Brand said as she outlined plans to expand the National Health Service Corps with a goal of increasing primary care physicians.

Past NRHA President Wayne Myers, MD, of Waldoboro, Maine, asked Brand about HRSA’s efforts to improve oral health access.

“I’m excited about where we are,” she said. “This secretary gets it. She has instructed people to figure out how to use federal leverage, and folks that didn’t use to talk about oral health access do now.”

Maggie Blackburn, Florida State University rural health director and family physician, took the opportunity to show her gratitude.

“We have noticed what HRSA has done in the last few years for rural health,” she said. “Thank you.”

Brand complimented and thanked NRHA members from across the country.

“In rural, you have long been innovators and, as a means of survival, figured out how to do things with limited resources,” Brand said. “It’s nice to be back with the rural folks, and I acknowledge the work you do on behalf of rural America.”

Stay tuned for more from NRHA’s Policy Institute.

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