AHA's Rural Blogs

4 key takeaways from COVID-19 town hall on rural communities’ vaccination challenges.
April 22, 2021
Health leaders from across the U.S. convened to discuss the unique challenges facing rural communities and providers in addressing COVID-19 vaccine administration, confidence and barriers to access. Read the AHA blog that has insights from a rural COVID-19 town hall hosted by AHA and the Black Coalition Against COVID-19.

The 4 lessons I learned while striving to preserve and increase access to care in rural communities.
November 18, 2020 by Michelle Hood
In this AHA blog, Michelle Hood, AHA executive vice president and chief operating officer and president for the AHA’s Health Forum, honors the important role of local care close to home, and shares her experiences leading health care organizations serving some of America’s most rural communities.

What’s next for rural hospitals? Additional COVID-19 relief and beyond
November 18, 2020 by Tom Nickels
In this AHA blog, AHA Executive Vice President Tom Nickels discusses the resources hospitals and health systems need and what additional relief Congress should deliver during the COVID-19 public health emergency and beyond. Read more.

Improving Access to Maternal Care in Rural Communities.
November 17, 2020 by Priya Bathija
It is important to recognize the work rural hospitals are doing to improve access to maternal care for mothers living in rural communities, writes Priya Bathija, AHA’s vice president of strategic initiatives

Building blocks for rural payment and delivery models during COVID-19 and beyond
October 21, 2020 by Erika Rogan, Ph.D.
Rural hospitals are well accustomed to working through challenges. They typically operate under tight resource and staffing constraints, and they make hard choices in order to keep their doors open, even in the best of times. A downloadable file can be accessed here.

Rural hospitals innovate during COVID-19
August 7, 2020 by John Supplitt
In this first in a series of three blogs, we highlight leaders’ reactions and initiatives. AHA’s Rural Health Services team has documented the work of rural hospital leaders through case examples, podcasts and webinars. Here are just some of the many examples of ways leaders are improving quality of patient care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Q&A with two rural health care CEOs on managing COVID-19 in their communities
Apr 29, 2020
Three hundred people tuned into AHA’s April 14 webinar, Experience from the Front Lines: Managing COVID-19 in Rural Communities, showing how large the appetite is for new ideas and information on addressing coronavirus in rural areas. Even with a live Q&A portion of the event, there were still many unanswered questions, so we asked the two speakers, Rex McKinney, president and CEO at Decatur County Memorial Hospital in Greensburg, Ind., and Mary Ellen Pratt, CEO at St. James Parish Hospital in Lutcher, La., to provide an additional batch of answers.

Rural health care: Big challenges require big solutions
January 28, 2020 by Joy Lewis and Erika Rogan
Given the trend of rural hospital closures and concerns about access to health care services, most rural health care activity focuses on the here and now. In this blog, AHA's Erika Rogan and Joy Lewis examine the unique challenges facing rural communities and opportunities for the field to improve by creating both short-term and longer-term solutions.

How one rural hospital attracts physicians while advancing health equity
September 26, 2019 by Duane Reynolds, president and CEO, AHA's Institute for Diversity and Health Equity
AHA leaders recently visited Kearny County Hospital, a critical access hospital in Kansas, where they met with the hospital's board and community leaders about the organization's innovative efforts to attract physicians, serve a unique population and improve health equity. Read some of Reynolds' takeaways in this AHA Stat Blog.

How two rural hospitals are engaging in innovative practices to meet the needs of their communities
Jul 2, 2019  by Joy Lewis
AHA staff recently visited two rural hospitals to see and hear firsthand how leaders are engaging in innovative practices to increase accessibility and affordability for their communities.

Improving maternal health care in rural communities
Jul 2, 2019 by Jay Bhatt, by Melissa Mannon
Women in rural areas face unique maternal health care challenges, including hospital closures or lack of obstetric services. In this AHA Stat Blog, Jay Bhatt, D.O., senior vice president and chief medical officer of the AHA, and Melissa Mannon, AHA associate director of policy development, discuss priorities to improve maternal health services identified at a recent Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services forum.

5 strategies rural hospitals are using to bolster their workforce
Mar 5, 2019 by John Supplitt and Elisa Arespacochaga
The ability to provide rural residents with high-quality health care is contingent upon an adequate supply of providers.

Perspective: Ensuring Access in Rural America
Jul 19, 2019 by Rick Pollack
Providing care in rural areas presents unique challenges. Geography is a challenge, with patient volumes and the shortages of medical professionals. Rural hospitals also face challenges related to payer mix, access to capital, providing behavioral health services, and adjusting to new delivery models. Moreover, rural hospitals are particularly sensitive to the impact of economic and demographic changes faced by their communities. That’s why AHA launched our new Future of Rural Health Care Task Force: to help shape the future of rural health care delivery and ensure access to quality care in rural America for decades to come. Improving rural health is an AHA priority because we truly cannot advance health in America without keeping our rural communities strong.