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Sebelius Hears Rural Health Concerns

Alexandra Wilson Pecci, for HealthLeaders Media, October 19, 2011

HLM: What unanswered questions remain?

Scanlan: I don't know that there's as much unanswered questions as there is a list of important issues for rural hospitals that need to be addressed at the federal level by HHS, as well as by Congress, to make sure that there is adequate payment for care that's delivered in rural communities, particularly to rural hospitals. And that as part of the conversation about deficit reduction, [ensuring] these smaller hospitals aren't disproportionately hurt in the process.

HLM: Did you feel that you were heard?

Scanlan: Oh, I think the Secretary clearly heard the issues. I'm not sure she was surprised by any of them. She was a governor of a state that has a large rural area, Kansas; she reminded the group of that. She's very articulate on rural issues. I think it was a reaffirmation of the kinds of issues that are important for rural health, rural communities, and rural hospitals.

HLM: Do you feel like it was successful overall?

Scanlan: We do. We were pleased that she was able to make the hospital association and rural issues a stop on her trip here in Pennsylvania, and we think from that perspective alone is was worthwhile. And then to have the ability to spend about an hour talking with her about all of these issues, I think was very helpful.

HLM: Were participants satisfied with the outcomes of the roundtable?

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2 comments on "Sebelius Hears Rural Health Concerns"


Robert C. Bowman, M.D. (10/28/2011 at 4:32 AM)
Rural areas are indeed dependent upon school and health spending. Federal designs bypass rural spending in both. The Secretary cannot possibly defend 6 billion in Critical Access Hospital cuts - a move that can only be seen as lack of awareness of what is critical to rural health as in the 1980s Reagan PPS changes. The Secretary cannot address primary care reimbursement that fails to keep up with the rapidly increasing cost of delivering primary care - going up even faster in recent years. Primary care is 40 - 100% of rural workforce. Thirty years of administrations have failed to implement solutions that have worked for over 30 years in Pennsylvania such as the Jefferson PSAP or MN RPAP or other models that graduate what rural areas need - broad scope generalist family practice - the only remaining permanent primary care source in the United States.

jrobb (10/19/2011 at 3:24 PM)
As one of the largest employers in many rural communities, Hospitals are a key economic driver that allows rural America to survice. Without the career paths the hospital provides, youth leaves, property values decline, and the tax base erodes. Hopefully, "small-town" America will not become collateral damage of the PPAC Act.