Click here for a full recap of yesterday's conference activities.

Advocacy and Public Policy Update. AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack hosted a session with Nancy-Ann DeParle, partner and co-founder of Consonance Capital Partners and former assistant to the president and deputy chief of staff for policy to President Obama; and Lanhee Chen, research fellow at the Hoover Institution and former policy director for the Romney-Ryan presidential campaign. Among other issues, they discussed health care implications for the 2020 election — particularly in rural communities — Medicare for All and the future of the Affordable Care Act.   
In addition, Pollack hosted a session with Erika Rogan, AHA senior associate director of policy, and Travis Robey, AHA senior associate director of federal relations, in which they discussed AHA's rural advocacy agenda, as well as issues Congress will debate this year, including surprise billing, price transparency, Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital cuts, and new models of care and payment for rural hospitals. They also underscored the importance of preserving funding for hospitals that participate in the 340B drug pricing program, as well as securing telehealth funding to increase broadband access and technical assistance for grant writing.   
AHA Rural Hospital Leadership Award. AHA Board Chair Melinda Estes, M.D., yesterday presented the AHA Rural Hospital Leadership Team Award to Cody Regional Health in Cody, Wyo. The award recognizes small or rural hospital leaders who guide their hospitals and communities through transformational change on the road to health care reform. "To all of you and to your entire team back home in Wyoming, please allow me to thank you, on behalf of the AHA, for everything you've done for the people of Cody and the Big Horn Basin," Estes said. She also recognized Hill Country Memorial in Fredericksburg, Texas, and Coffey Health System in Burlington, Kan., as finalists. See the AHA news release for more on the winner and finalists.     
Keynote Session. James Orlikoff, president of Orlikoff & Associates Inc., outlined the tensions between health care rhetoric and reality and provided governance techniques to help boards tell the difference. Orlikoff highlighted how rural health care boards can make decisions to help their hospitals and health systems survive in a post-disruption world.   
Strategy Sessions. Strategy sessions covered using accountable care organizations; strategies for accessing and integrating behavior health services; improving obstetric care; identifying solutions to address provider access and patient outmigration through telehealth; strategic planning; transforming care through age-friendly health systems; managing cybersecurity risk in health care and exploring governance models. 
Watch AHA Today for more coverage from the conference and follow the action on social media using #RuralHealth.

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