The AHA’s goal is to improve the health care of every American, no matter where they live…big city, small town, frontier or somewhere in between. Each community has its own health, technology, infrastructure and financial needs, so there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. What works in Brooklyn, New York (population 2.6 million) may work in Brooklyn, Iowa (population 1,400) … but not as well as an approach designed specifically for that community.  

One thing every single hospital in America has in common: making sure their patients receive the highest quality care. Clearly, the challenges faced by rural America are unique. And, no access often means no quality. The AHA is committed to helping rural communities—where over 20 percent of Americans live—make sure patients receive the care they need. That’s why we’re hosting our 32nd Annual Rural Health Care Leadership Conference this coming week. 

Nearly 1,000 rural hospital and health system leaders—including 300 hospital trustees—will gather to discuss the state of health care in rural America and chart the path forward. America’s rural hospitals and health systems are a critical part of the communities they serve, and the AHA is absolutely committed to ensuring that they continue to provide leadership in being an access point and cornerstone of care in their communities. 
And we’re working hard to make sure that never changes.
Our 2019 Rural Advocacy Agenda lays out recommendations for ensuring federal policies make it easier for rural hospitals to keep providing local access to high-quality, affordable health care. They include: 

  • Ensuring fair and adequate reimbursement for care;
  • Improving access to care and supporting new models of care that work for rural America;
  • Removing red tape that hinders care;
  • Updating federal telehealth coverage policies, expanding access to broadband connectivity, and providing more incentives for providers to adopt and utilize health information technology; 
  • Bolstering the rural health care workforce; and
  • Reining in the skyrocketing costs of prescription drugs. 

Advocating on behalf of rural hospitals is an AHA priority because we truly cannot advance health in America without keeping our rural communities strong. No matter where they live, America’s patients deserve access to quality, affordable health care, and the AHA is working with our members to make sure they have it. 

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