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Get to know NRHA's 2016 candidates

Two members are vying to be NRHA's president-elect and two more for NRHA’s Board of Trustees secretary position. Multiple others are nominated for Board of Trustees and Rural Health Congress positions. Please review each officer candidate's nomination submission below in advance of the voting period beginning Nov. 3 for NRHA members. The president-elect will serve in that role in 2016 and as president in 2017. Tommy Barnhart for president-elect "In my 40-plus year health care career I have seen tremendous change but none as dramatic or all-encompassing as we are now experiencing or about to undergo. In my consulting experience, I have been extensively involved with rural providers of all types and would leverage that experience in my NRHA presidency. NRHA is the strongest voice for rural health and needs strong leadership during these changing times. "NRHA must continue to advocate for sustainable payment systems while new systems are developed, tested and implemented while advocating for sustainable rural workforce and delivery programs. "The rural delivery system was developed by complex regulatory and payment “silo” provisions that inhibit the development of new high quality patient-centered systems of care that are more cost effective. Through a thoughtful approach we can develop new systems of care and payment. "I can provide leadership necessary to guide NRHA into the future." Dave Schmitz, MD, for president-elect   "I ask for your vote for NRHA’s president-elect. The Save Rural Hospitals Act is but one example of what we are doing together through NRHA, making a difference for rural health care today and for the future. "I ask for your vote to allow me to continue serving NRHA by leading our rural health mission at a time of unprecedented importance. NRHA is the one place where our collective experience and expertise can benefit those we are serving. "Together at NRHA our voice is louder and smarter. As a constituency group chair, leading NRHA issues groups, in policy writing and through our NRHA projects, I am constantly inspired by our organization and our members. Spanning my time from being an NRHA Rural Health Fellow to being humbled by the 2014 NRHA Volunteer of the Year Award, I have continued to channel my energies and experience toward this next step in NRHA leadership. Thank you for your support."


Don Kelso for secretary "I am asking for your support by voting for me to be the secretary of the NRHA Board of Trustees. "I have been blessed to be the executive director of the Indiana Rural Health Association for the past eight years. We have grown our association substantially during that time and continue to find creative and proactive ways to serve the rural population and health care providers in rural Indiana. "Before this opportunity I worked in administration at two Indiana rural hospitals for 17 years. We have modeled IRHA after NRHA in many ways, and I have personally attended each NRHA Annual Conference and Policy Institute since 2008. I have also had the pleasure of serving on the NRHA Services Corporation board for the past four years. "I would appreciate your vote to expand my involvement with NRHA."


Pat Schou for secretary "Rural health has been my passion for many years.  I live and work in a rural community and see firsthand the value and importance of the rural health care system not only for care but for maintaining the local economy. "I very concerned the impact of today’s changing health care landscape and our struggling economy will have on the long-term viability of rural communities and preserving their access to local care. I believe one of the most significant strategies is for rural to work together to tell our story and speak as a loud voice. NRHA provides that opportunity for rural providers and leaders nationally to advocate as a group and offer ideas and solutions as well as raise tough issues and address disparities. "I have served on NRHA committees and the Rural Health Congress for several years and have seen the commitment of members to keep rural strong. It would be an honor and privilege to serve as secretary and represent NRHA and its many constituents in our joint effort to help ensure rural health has a better tomorrow."

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