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NRHA / NACHC Task Force convenes in Washington DC

The National Rural Health Association (NRHA) and National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) held a joint task force meeting with the charge of  "Assuring Survival Through Hard Times: Strengthening the Voice of Rural and Frontier Health Centers".    Coined the National Rural Health Task Force, the group was established in 2007 to “discuss rural issues, communication strategies, and build partnerships to promote the long-term growth and sustainability of rural community and migrant health centers” through a cooperative agreement with HRSA's Federal Office of Rural Health Policy. Speakers at this year's event included, Jim Macrae, Associate Administrator for Primary Health Care at HRSA, and Heather Dimeris, Associate Director/ Senior Adviser at the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy.   An update on the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services was also provided by Roland Gardner of Beaufort Jasper Hampton Comprehensive Health Services in Ridgeland, SC.  Additionally, the rural implications of the Supreme Court's recent decision on the Affordable Care Act was discussed by guest speaker, Katherine Hayes J.D., an Associate Research Professor at the George Washington University Department of Health Care Policy followed by legislative updates from NRHA and NACHC's Government Affairs staffs. The task force lead by Carol Miller of New Mexico and Patricia Tarango of Arizona will be, in the coming weeks, authoring a policy paper on the impact of the Affordable Care Act on rural and frontier health centers. Using the discussion content from the two day meeting (July 12-13, 2012) that was facilitated by Harvey Licht, the former New Mexico Primary Care Office director, the task force hopes to introduce this paper through both NRHA and NACHC policy processes to better inform leaders in the policy arena of challenges still being faced by rural and frontier community health centers.


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