NRHA President Pat Schou on community hospital best practices
Alex T. Olson
2020 NRHA President Pat Schou can attest personally, and professionally, that NRHA’s Rural Health Clinic and Critical Access Hospital Conferences are a great source of guidance for community hospitals and more. Schou will kick off the virtual event at 1 p.m. CDT Sept. 22 and conclude Sept. 25, hosting over 70 sessions with over 100 speakers to spark conversation among health care leaders trying to overcome the challenges facing rural America.
Schou, Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network (ICAHN) executive director, offers up some of this year’s event highlights in an interview with NRHA partner MEDHOST where she discusses the event’s exciting topics, her experience as NRHA President in 2020, and helping community hospitals stay connected, meet regulatory requirements, and cope during the pandemic.
The ongoing COVID19 pandemic has certainly been the biggest challenge healthcare delivery has faced this year, but it has also reenergized the need to ensure healthcare remains accessible in rural communities. NRHA continues to be a tremendous advocate in reaching policymakers on behalf of its members unique needs. As pointed out in this interview, the voice of NRHA on behalf of the hospitals it serves has only been amplified this year.
“There's been a greater awareness of rural healthcare and the concerns and challenges that we've had with the pandemic,” said Pat Shou. “I think these challenges have really been put on the front burner for Congress and other providers out there in the communities due to the pandemic.”
NRHA creates programs and services to meet the needs of rural providers and communities. The organization and its members help people take action around policies to help others. The conference is one way to raise national awareness of rural health care. Without a strong united voice, Schou believes rural hospitals would have a difficult time reaching policymakers.
Hear Schou’s thoughts on the highlighted Best Practices track during this year’s NRHA Critical Access Hospital Conference and the critical need for a best practice implementation plan.
ICAHN consists of 51 critical access and rural hospitals. A nurse by training, Schou has been involved in health care for decades, helping set up the critical access hospital program in Illinois. Schou believes that working directly with hospital boards, communities, health departments, clinics, and state government helps guide the work she does on a national level.