National Rural Health Day proclamation
On National Rural Health Day 2020, the undersigned organizations announced the establishment of the Rural Health Action Alliance (RHAA). RHAA is a coalition representing health care providers and facilities providing high-quality, evidence-based care to millions of Americans living and working in rural and underserved communities. Over the past two years, RHAA advocated for equitable access to care in rural America. To bridge the rural divide efforts have focused on access to COVID-19 treatments and vaccines, continued telehealth expansion, investment and support for the rural health workforce, and equitable resources for rural providers.
At the time of RHAA’s creation, COVID-19 was ravaging the nation with more than 80 percent of nonmetropolitan counties having infection rates of 100 or more per 100,000 individuals. Two years later, the pandemic’s grip on rural health care is softening, and rural providers are in the process of building back from COVID-19. RHAA is committed to advancing solutions to the long-term challenges facing rural providers and patients.
As we celebrate National Rural Health Day and reflect on the obstacles to providing health care in rural areas, RHAA urges Congress to continue investment in the rural health infrastructure. As we look back on the challenges rural communities faced throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, RHAA urges Congress to create an Office of Rural Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as proposed in the Rural Health Equity Act (H.R. 5848 & S. 3149), introduced by Representative McEachin (D-VA) and Senator Merkley (D-OR). By creating an Office of Rural Health, CDC will have more discretion and resources to analyze, study, and address the unique health care challenges and disparities faced by rural communities across America.
RHAA and its members will continue to serve as a resource to Congress and the administration as they formulate solutions to longstanding rural health disparities. As we move forward, RHAA looks forward to working with elected officials to identify innovative ways to improve access to care in rural communities.
National Rural Health Association
American Physical Therapy Association
American Association of Nurse Anesthesiology
American Association of Nurse Practitioners
National Association of Rural Health Clinics
American Pharmacists Association
American Academy of Physician Associates
National AHEC Organization
National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners
National League for Nursing
American College of Nurse-Midwives
American Chiropractic Association
National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health