Health care delivery poses unique challenges in rural communities. Provider shortages are particularly acute in rural America, where levels of educational achievement are generally lower and there are fewer opportunities to receive medical training. Unemployment and uninsurance rates are higher in rural areas than elsewhere. Join us for a discussion about how some aspects of pending reform proposals — coverage expansions, subsidies, delivery system improvements and health information technology including telemedicine — may have a substantial impact on rural health care.
What provisions in the various reform proposals affect rural health care? What particular challenges need to be overcome in order to improve care delivery in rural areas? What aspects of health reform will require special accommodation in rural areas? Are delivery systems in rural areas currently able to handle the influx of new patients coverage expansion would bring? How does HIT factor into rural reform?
To address these questions and more, the Alliance for Health Reform and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation cosponsored an October 30 briefing. Panelists included: Keith Mueller, director of the University of Nebraska’s Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis; Neal Neuberger, executive director of the HIMSS Foundation’s Institute for e-Health Policy; and Tom Irons,associate vice chancellor for regional health services at East Carolina University’s Brody School of Medicine. Ed Howard of the Alliance moderated.