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Sebelius Hears Rural Health Concerns

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

Scanlan: They were pleased with the conversation; pleased that the Secretary took time out of her schedule to meet with them. They felt that the Secretary understood their issues, heard their issues, and where she could, where it was under her purview, where she had the ability to affect change, she would attempt to do so.

HLM: Should this be a signal to rural hospitals around the country that this is a priority for the federal government?

Scanlan: I think it's a signal that the Secretary of HHS has an interest in rural health. I think that it's a signal that she continues, from her days as governor and to her role as Secretary, to understand the importance of rural health.

HLM: What do you hope Secretary Sebelius walked away from the roundtable with?

Scanlan: That there were some real concerns, real issues, both in human capital, financing, [and] payment, that are important in rural communities and that there are remarkably dedicated individuals living in those rural communities, dedicated to assuring that hospitals and other healthcare services in those communities are sustained and are sustained at a high level of care.


Alexandra Wilson Pecci is a managing editor for HealthLeaders Media.

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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.