The foundation will also help rural healthcare leaders identify and tap into the "natural assets you have locally and use those well in healthcare delivery," Mueller says."In a local rural community you are closer to the population that is being served. Changes that focus around keeping populations healthier take on a different feel when it's a smaller population where people know each other and the providers are closer to the population. There are ways to use that as an asset to implement what the payers want, which is keeping people out of the most expensive forms of acute care because they are getting better services and staying healthy in primary care."
Some of the operational details for the foundation have yet to be finalized. For example, there is no annual budget or locked-down funding source beyond the seed money.
NRHA CEO Alan Morgan says that creating a separate foundation provides a locus that could otherwise get blurred with all that is going on in rural healthcare. "For us at NRHA, we do educational programming, networking, advocacy. There are a lot of activities within the broader nonprofit parent organization, and we wanted to make sure for the purposes of the foundation that the goals and expectations were very targeted toward leadership development," he says. "We felt that creating this separate entity would ensure that that will be able to happen."