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.

President’s budget cuts jeopardize rural health care safety net

The President’s budget request released yesterday allocated $76.4 billion to the Department of Health and Human Services, but called for cuts to the Office of Rural Health Policy, Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) and Rural Health Flexibility Grants. The Discretionary Program decreases in the budget include the Rural Health Flexibility Grant Funding Line, down $15 million. In 2012, Congress appropriated $41 million for the Rural Hospital Flexibility program, which consists...

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Cuts to Critical Access Hospitals included in President’s budget

The President’s released today includes cuts to Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs). According to the budget, “Medicare makes a number of special payments to account for the unique challenges of delivering medical care to beneficiaries in rural areas. These payments continue to be important; however, in specific cases, the adjustments may be greater than necessary to ensure continued access to care.” The Administration proposes to reduce payments from 101 percent to 100...

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President's budget for FY 2013 to be released today

The President's fiscal year 2013 budget request will be released today at 11:15 a.m. EST here. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Deputy Secretary Bill Corr will announce the HHS fiscal year 2013 budget at 2 p.m. EST. Watch the briefing live at 2pm EST at www.hhs.gov/live. Please continue to monitor this blog for updates and developments throughout the day.

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NRHA shows doctor-to-be real scope of rural practice

The job at NRHA was a stepping stone for Dustin Summers. And we’re OK with that. He worked in NRHA’s Washington, D.C., office for two years, during which he met hundreds of rural health’s finest and decided he could better serve rural America as a rural doc. In Rural Roads magazine, Dustin describes his memorable-but-not-necessarily-in-a-good-way interview at the National Rural Health Association and recalls receiving 41 rejection letters from med schools before another memorable...

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Rural Relevant Quality Measures for CAH's

The FLEX Monitoring Team (FMT) just released a Brief on rural relevant quality measures for Critical Access Hospitals (CAH). The purpose of the brief is to provide a set of rural relevant quality measure for policy makers and the rural health provider community. It is hoped that in this atmosphere of value based purchasing (VBP) and accountable care that this set of proposed measures can stimulate discussion and drive performance measurment of small, rural hospitals to another leve of meaning...

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Bipartisan bill introduced to preserve rural health access

Today, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., and Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., co-chairs of the Congressional Rural Health Coalition, introduced H.R. 3859, the Rural Hospital and Provider Equity (R-HOPE) Act of 2012. This bipartisan bill would help rural communities across America protect and expand access to quality health care.“The quality of health care you receive should not depend on whether you’re from a big city or small town,” Thompson said. “Ensuring everyone has access to high...

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Talk of the town at Policy Institute

[caption id="attachment_1519" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Co-chair of the Senate Rural Health Caucus, Roberts' straight talk always educates and entertains."][/caption] As 450 of America’s most passionate advocates are fighting for rural health on Capitol Hill, we thought we’d take a moment to recap some of the memorable (and often unscripted) quotes from the National Rural Health Association’s 23rd annual Rural Health...

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Wakefield: Proud to partner with NRHA

Current and potential funding support caught the attention of the more than 450 National Rural Health Association members attending the Rural Health Policy Institute this week in D.C. Earlier today, Mary Wakefield, PhD, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) administrator and former National Rural Health Association member, outlined workforce, education, health information technology, telehealth and other HRSA projects and grant programs benefitting or with the potential to...

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Sebelius says there’s light at the end of the tunnel for rural Americans

[caption id="attachment_1506" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Sebelius addresses record NRHA Policy Institute crowd"][/caption] Geography shouldn’t be a determinant of health care quality, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said as she kicked off the National Rural Health Association’s Rural Health Policy Institute this morning. She told a record crowd of rural health professionals from all 50 states that there...

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White House outlines progress, plans

It’s been six months since the White House announced its new Rural Council. We know health care impacts everything from a community’s life expectancy to its economy, but we didn’t know how the new council planned to impact rural health across America. [caption id="attachment_1485" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="McKalip at the White House"][/caption] So the National Rural Health Association’s  Rural Roads magazine...

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