NRHA's Role In Rural Health
Economic factors, cultural and social differences, lack of recognition by legislators and the isolation of living in remote areas are all obstacles faced by rural health care providers and patients that are not found in urban areas. NRHA is here to help overcome these challenges, and the support of our Partners makes that possible.
Through efforts such as the NRHA's government affairs office in Washington D.C., the Annual Rural Health Policy Institute and ongoing grassroots campaigns, NRHA actively participates in advocacy efforts to bring about appropriate rural health policy and legislation. These activities have helped make NRHA the nation's leader in rural health issues and have allowed NRHA to have a hand in the following rural health successes:
- Increasing funding for the National Health Service Corps, an agency that places healthcare workers in underserved areas in exchange for tuition assistance during training.
- Helping to establish the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy to monitor and impact rural health issues nationally.
- Introducing legislation to boost physician and hospital Medicare payments in rural America, and continuing to actively urge Congress to provide equal Medicare payments for same services to rural providers and facilities.
- Forming the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health, serving an important purpose of keeping the Secretary of HHS updated on rural issues and policy recommendations.
- Establishing the annual Rural Health Policy Institute—a forum for members to learn the policy process, the nuances of issues and communicate their concerns as part of an organized effort. Attendance continues to grow, and we've seen an increasing number of members of Congress joining us.
- Creating the FLEX program in 1997, with the help of the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH).
- Working with appropriations staff to secure a $4 million increase for State Offices of Rural Health, a $3.4 million increase in funding for rural health research and $15 million for the Rural Hospital Improvement Program in 2001.
- Working with the American Hospital Association (AHA) to develop the new Rural Community Hospital Assistance Act Proposal in 2001.