The Senate Finance Committee today held a hearing on “Rural Health Care in America: Challenges and Opportunities.” In a statement submitted for the record, AHA recommended legislative and regulatory actions to maintain access to health care in rural communities – from enacting alternative payment models such as the rural emergency medical center to providing regulatory relief and expanding access to telehealth services. Hospital and health system witnesses at the hearing included Konnie Martin, CEO of San Luis Valley Health in Alamosa, CO; Susan Thompson, senior vice president of integration and optimization for UnityPoint Health in West Des Moines, IA; and Karen Murphy, executive vice president and chief innovation officer for Geisinger in Danville, PA. “Rural communities pride themselves on hard work and taking care of their own,” said Martin. “However, federal payment systems and delivery models must…be updated to meet the realities and challenges of how health care is delivered today and in the future….In a country as great as ours, where you live should not determine if you live.” Senators Wyden and Hatch expressed support for advancing bipartisan legislation this year to help address some of the challenges of providing care in rural areas.

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