The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee on Primary Health and Retirement Security yesterday held a hearing to examine health care experiences and costs in rural America. Topics ranged from workforce shortages to the cost of providing care in rural communities, declining inpatient volumes, new payment models, and the need to expand access to telehealth services as well as adequately reimburse for them. “We should stop thinking about rural health services in terms of bricks-and-mortar facilities and start thinking in terms of the real health problems that need to be solved in these communities,” said witness Alan Levine, president and CEO of Ballad Health, a 21-hospital integrated care delivery system based in Johnson City, Tenn. For example, he described how Ballad was able to repurpose rather than close a rural hospital to provide “the critical outpatient services, behavioral health, rehabilitation and drug addiction treatment that are so badly needed in the community.” He underscored the need for federal investment to enable these types of transitions as well as the need for reimbursement and regulatory policies that provide flexibility for rural providers. In a statement submitted for the hearing, AHA highlighted policy recommendations, emerging strategies and new models of care that can help preserve access to quality, affordable care in vulnerable rural communities.

Related News Articles

Headline
Nine in 10 voters say access to health care in rural communities is important, and three in five would be more likely to vote for a candidate who prioritized…
Headline
Eligible hospitals, clinics and other organizations may apply through June 10 for up to $725,000 each to expand access to medication-assisted treatment for…
Headline
Critical Access Hospitals, certain clinics, and other eligible outpatient facilities that provide primary care or substance use disorder treatment to high-need…
Headline
The Health Resources and Services Administration will host a webinar for applying for grants to coordinate maternal and obstetrics care in rural regions.
Insights and Analysis
Learn about the framework for Gundersen Health System’s (La Crosse, Wis.) model for affiliations with critical access hospitals and how it has led to reduced…
Headline
Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Susan Collins, R-Maine, Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, yesterday introduced AHA-supported legislation (S. 948)…