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.

American Association of Family Physicians Interviews CMS Administrator Berwick

From James Arvantes at AAFP News Now: As CMS administrator, Donald Berwick, M.D., has played a key role in implementing various provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, including the expansion of Medicaid, writing new rules and regulations, and the establishment of pilot projects to test different health care models and payment policies. Berwick is a Harvard University professor, a pediatrician and former president and CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement...

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Legislative Update for Week of May 23, 2011

The Senate and House of Representatives are both in legislative session this week in the lead up to the Memorial Day holiday. The Senate will follow...

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Legislation and Hearings for Week of May 16

The House of Representatives is in a "constituent work week" this week.  Many members will be holding town-hall meetings and other events to discuss the budget process and legislative action items.  This is a great opportunity to talk to your Congressman about the issues that are important to you.  Information about these events are generally posted on each member's website.  For information about your Congressman, visit The Senate will be in session this week but are not...

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ACOs in Focus

On Wednesday, the American Medical Group Association, in a letter to CMS officials, warned that 93% of its members, mostly large multispecialty medical groups, would not participate in accountable care organizations (ACOs) under the federal health reform law.  The letter said, "Without substantial changes in the Final Rule, we fear that very few providers will enroll as ACOs and that CMS and the provider community will miss the best opportunity to inject value and accountability into the...

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Senator Burr Replaces Senator Ensign on Budget Committee

Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) has been selected by Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to replace Senator John Ensign (R-NV) on the Senate Finance Committee.  Senator Burr will leave his seat on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee in order take his seat on the Finance Committee.  Senator Burr is currently serving in his second term as Senator, having been elected in 2004, and reelected in 2010.  Information on Senator Burr is available at

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Oregon group aims to help critical-access hospitals meet meaningful use

From Paul Barr at OCHIN, a not-for-profit health...

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Floor and Hearing Schedule Week of May 9

The Senate and House of Representatives are both in session this week.  Among other things, both chambers continue to focus on the budget for FY 2012. Senate...

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McClellan calls on NRHA members to share ideas, provide health reform leadership

New Legislation and Hearings for Week of May 2

Congress has returned from its two week recess and will be in session or in official constituent work periods from now until Memorial Day.  This week the House will be considering a number of changes and repeals  to the Affordable Care Act including de-funding state exchange subsidies and school based health clinics.  The House will also consider legislation that would add more explicit language outlawing federally funded abortions.  The Senate is not scheduled to hold any votes on health...

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HIT rural network grant opportunity

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