CEO Update: National Rural Health Day 2017

CEO Update: National Rural Health Day 2017

November is the official month of celebration and giving thanks.  Way back in 1863, President Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a Federal Holiday and we’ve been celebrating ever since.  For many, I know Thanksgiving is about family, football and food.  For me, I’m thankful to spend time with family.  As for football, the Broncos could use our thoughts and prayers.  Then finally the food, which we have our rural communities to thank for the harvest.  Speaking of rural, November is the official month of National Rural Health Day (NRHD).

National Rural Health Day, is a day that was created by the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) to celebrate the power of rural.  Beginning this year, we ask that everyone take the pledge to partner, to make NRHD a movement, to help grow the power of rural across America.  What does taking the Pledge to Partner mean?  “The Pledge to Partner was designed to help strategically align with people like you who want to achieve higher performance and visibility, optimize our collective contributions, and realize complementary objectives that advance the rural health mission.”  By bringing a collective focus, “we are transforming NRHD into an ongoing commitment to bring collective focus to specific healthcare issues facing rural communities across the United States.”  To take the Pledge to Partner, visit

National Rural Health Day started in 2011 and we tried a few different ways to honor the day, but the one way that resonated best with CRHC is to go to a rural community to celebrate.  In past years, we’ve visited Estes Park and Trinidad.  This year, we went to Cheyenne Wells to celebrate with Keefe Memorial Hospital and clinic staff and board, public health, government officials and local community leaders.  Did you know that Keefe Memorial Hospital converted to a critical access hospital (CAH) this year, bringing our total CAHs to 31?  Keefe Memorial Hospital first started providing care in their community in 1931, has been recognized as a 5-Star Award recipient in Inpatient Services for hospital environment by the national healthcare research leader, Professional Research Consultants, Inc. and was featured in the 2016 CRHC Safety Net Clinic Week community showcase.  I encourage you to learn a little bit more about the history of the hospital in the video.  Cheyenne County is a frontier county meaning there are six or fewer people per square mile and the population of the county is approximately 1,848.

In Colorado, we have 47 rural/frontier counties. CRHC works to support all of these counties as rural communities are the backbone of Colorado.  Healthcare is typically one of top 3 employers in rural communities and is, therefore, an important economic driver.

I’d like to personally thank the staff and board of Keefe Memorial Hospital and clinics for all they do to serve each and every day.  I’d also like to thank the amazing community partners in Cheyenne Wells for all they do to serve each and every day.

One of the ways you can show thanks to our rural communities in Colorado is to take the Pledge to Partner for NRHD.  Another way you can tangibly take action is to join CRHC’s Policy and Legislative Committee.  In 2016, CRHC partner to Preceptor Tax and in 2017, CRHC partnered to pass the Hospital Provider Fee.  To join, contact Kelly Erb at




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