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NRHA participates in Senate Rural 101 Briefing

Maggie Elehwany, Vice President of Government Affairs for the National Rural Health Association addressed the importance of rural health care today during a Rural Health 101 policy briefing on Capitol Hill. Elehwany spoke on the importance rural providers are to the older, sicker, and poorer population they serve. “Sixty-two million patients rely on rural providers,” Elehwany said. “These providers are facing unprecedented challenges from Washington, from challenges in Medicaid expansion, continued cuts in Medicare and continued threats of additional Medicare cuts.” Elehwany urged the Senate to protect access to care for these vulnerable populations, and to save the 283 rural hospitals that are on the brink of closure. Already 53 rural hospitals have closed since 2010. Without congressional intervention, layoffs, reduced wages, economic loss, reduced services, or worse, closed doors will occur in more rural communities across America. “If Congress doesn’t act to stop the bleeding and prevent further closures of rural hospitals, 700,000 patients would lose direct access to care,” Elehwany said. “Patients and local economies in your state will suffer." In addition to NRHA, representatives from the Office of Rural Health Policy, National Association of Rural Health Clinics and the American Hospital Association participated in the Rural 101 briefing, sponsored by the Senate Rural Health Caucus. The Caucus is chaired by Senators Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Al Franken (D-MN). NRHA encourages Senators to join the Caucus.

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