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Quality, Safety Top Rural Health Leaders' Priorities

Cora Nucci, for HealthLeaders Media, February 16, 2011

In Chaska, MN, a free-standing urgent care and emergency department just opened its doors. It is a medical center with24/7 ER, urgent care, and specialty clinics, but there is no hospital. Before Two Twelve Medical Center  opened Feb. 1, Chaska's city administrator told the Minneapolis Star, "It was quite a trek to get to a hospital emergency room, either by ambulance or driving."

The city's foresight in planning the facility in partnership with Ridgeview Medical Center—it was five years in the making—underscores some of the differences between the healthcare needs of rural and exurban populations versus city and suburban dwellers.

The idea of a freestanding urgent care and emergency clinic may not be high on the list of urban healthcare leaders, but insight into the priorities of rural healthcare executives offers some context.

In the just-released 2011 HealthLeaders Media Industry Survey, survey participants from several industry sectors answered questions about the Patient Protection Act, accountable care organizations, primary care, relationships with payers, reimbursements, and finances, revealing telling differences among rural and non-rural healthcare leadership goals and concerns.

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