NRHA is fighting for rural
NRHA's government affairs team is in Washington, D.C., and advocates for you on behalf of issues facing rural America.
Using the association’s policy agenda, NRHA advocates to Congress, the White House, and federal agencies. NRHA serves as the primary resource to elected officials, policy leaders, and other organizations on the challenges and opportunities facing rural patients and providers.
NRHA members actively participate in advocacy efforts to advance necessary rural health policy and legislation through activities such as the annual Rural Health Policy Institute and grassroots campaigns. As an NRHA member benefit, the government affairs team hosts monthly grassroots calls to inform advocates about what is happening in Washington to facilitate grassroots advocacy.
NRHA’s policy agenda is developed through soliciting input from membership. Policies adopted by the Rural Health Congress are included in the agenda, which is approved each year by the Government Affairs Committee. The agenda reflects the mission and values of the organization.
For more information about advocacy and policy priorities, contact NRHA's government affairs team.
Tools for advocacy
Coordinated grassroots efforts by NRHA members and other rural health advocates are critical to ensuring rural and underserved populations have access to health care. These tools will help you advocate for rural health:
Access to quality health care for rural Americans
Over 135 rural hospitals have closed since 2010, and the number continues to rise. Right now, over 450 additional facilities are vulnerable to closure; this represents nearly one quarter of rural hospitals in the U.S. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has greatly exacerbated the strain on rural providers, as well as health care workforce shortages across rural America. If Congress does not act, hundreds more hospitals and clinics will close, which will leave hundreds of thousands of rural Americans without local access to care.
NRHA’s policy agenda focuses on three priority areas:
- Addressing Rural Declining Life Expectancy and Rural Equity - By addressing health disparities and inequities in rural communities through ensuring access to coverage, investing in public health, and prioritizing chronic disease prevention and obstetrical support.
- Reducing Rural Healthcare Workforce Shortages - Assisting rural communities seeking to recruit, train, and retain health care professionals through testing new models of team-based care, reforming rural Graduate Medical Education, and supporting workforce programs like the National Health Service Corp.
- Investing in a Strong Safety Net - Testing new payment models of care, while proving stabilizing relief for rural providers across the safety net, including rural hospitals, Critical Access Hospitals, Rural Health Clinics, and Federally Qualified Health Centers.
Robust funding for the rural health care safety net
NRHA supports robust funding for the entire rural health care safety net. While current spending for all rural health discretionary programs is relatively small, it plays a critical role in solidifying the fragile health care infrastructure in rural communities. NRHA urges Congress to support priority requests to significantly improve rural health care access and affordability including: establishing an Office of Rural Health within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; growing the Rural Maternal and Obstetric Management Strategies (RMOMS) program; expanding the Rural Residency Planning and Development Program; Modernizing the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program; supporting the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Hospital Technical Assistance program; and expanding the authority for the Office for the Advancement of Telehealth.
Gaining more rural health champions in Washington, D.C.
NRHA gains significant support for rural health priorities from Members of Congress through congressional caucuses and coalitions. To learn more about congressional caucuses and coalitions, visit our legislative branch webpage. NRHA also joins forces with like-minded organizations in Washington, D.C. to advocate on behalf of priorities important to rural health. For more information on NRHA’s coalitions and current sign-on opportunities, please visit our rural health coalitions webpage.