AHA staff participated this afternoon in a Rural Health Summit convened by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Health Resources and Services Administration Administrator George Sigounas to receive stakeholder input on addressing rural health challenges such as the opioid epidemic, access to care, telehealth, workforce development and rural health system transformation. HHS Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan and Chief of Staff Peter Urbanowicz also appeared at the event, which was moderated by Sigounas. In remarks at the summit, AHA discussed its Task Force on Ensuring Access in Vulnerable Communities report on nine innovative strategies for communities to consider based on their unique needs, support structures and preferences, including the emergency medical center model. The association also emphasized the importance of the 340B drug savings program and models to address the social determinants of health, which it said should include relief from fraud and abuse laws preventing hospitals from providing financial or in-kind assistance to patients that promote better overall health.

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