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Washington Post examines Federal definitions of "rural"

In an article published by the Washington Post on Saturday, reporter David Fahrenthold examined the multiple definitions of "rural" used by the federal government.  In the story, Mr. Fahrenthold looked at the various definitions used by the Department of Agriculture, Department of Health and Human Services, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and others. Many of these definitions are used to establish criteria for grant programs in several Departments, inclusion in health programs, and many building programs. According to official policies passed by NRHA's Rural Health Congress, "The National Rural Health Association strongly recommends that definitions of rural be specific to the purposes of the programs in which they are used and that these are referred to as programmatic designations and not as definitions. Programs targeting rural communities, rural providers, and rural residents do so for particular reasons, and those reasons should be the guidance for selecting the criteria for a programmatic designation (from among various criteria and existing definitions, each with its own statistical validity). This will ensure that a designation is appropriate for a specific program while limiting the possibilities that other unrelated programs adopt a definition, which is not created to fit that program." To read the entire Washington Post story, click here.  For more information on the policies of NRHA, click here.

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