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AHA's Advocate for Rural Health Names Top Concerns

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, January 29, 2014

"We are like many other critical access hospitals and the programs that we have here are very sophisticated and many are on the cutting edge of high quality," says Bengtson, who this month began a one-year term of office as chair of the American Hospital Association's Section for Small or Rural Hospitals in 2014.

"We have programs that are directed at improving the health of the populations we serve. I am excited just in general to pursue the Triple Aim: to improve care, to improve the health of the population, and to lower healthcare costs. We are a rural hospital, but we are working on all fronts."

The 21-person governing council represents small or rural hospitals in the AHA's policy process and member services initiatives, and through it, Bengtson says he's been exposed to "a large number of really smart and creative people working in rural healthcare settings all across the country."

'Crisis Mode'
"Having said that, many rural providers are in what I would call a crisis mode because the systems and many situations and the economy are rather fragile," he says.

Bengtson says in some rural areas "it is next to impossible to recruit qualified physicians."

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