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NRHA speaks at Rural Health 101 for senators

Maggie Elehwany, National Rural Health Association vice president of government affairs, discussed the importance of rural health care today during a Rural Health 101 policy briefing on Capitol Hill. Elehwany spoke on the significant role rural providers play 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, wage cuts, economic loss, reduced services and 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 timely access to care,” Elehwany cautioned. “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 Health 101 briefing, sponsored by the Senate Rural Health Caucus. The caucus is chaired by Sens. Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Al Franken (D-MN). NRHA encourages senators to join the caucus and its members to ask their elected officials to #SaveRural hospitals and patients today.

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