CEO Update: The Importance of Advocacy
Most kids nowadays have the opportunity to take a field trip to Washington DC in middle or high school. I, unfortunately, was not one of those kids. However, I am lucky as an adult to not only visit Washington DC, but to be part of the process in advocating and educating the Colorado delegation on all things rural! I recently returned from the National Rural Health Association’s annual Policy Institute in Washington DC. The CRHC team had an opportunity to ride the train between buildings, walk 13,000 steps in high heels, and more importantly, meet with legislators on your behalf to share successes, discuss the issues that affect our rural communities across Colorado and create a path to move forward for rural sustainability.
This year, CRHC shared:
- Change regulations to allow true integration of care.
- Stop multiple payment cuts (including “bad debt” reimbursement cuts).
- Provide additional funding and enhanced reimbursement for Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) and funding to support technical assistance.
- Support federal rural health funding, including The Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program, (FLEX), the Small Hospital Improvement Program (SHIP) and the State Office of Rural Health (SORH) Program.
In the coming months, CRHC will be digging into the rules and regulations that are barriers to integrated care. These will be reviewed at a state and national level to determine how lawmakers can assist in allowing true integration to occur in rural communities.
CRHC will also work to increase encounter rates for RHCs and obtain necessary funding to ensure rural sustainability around primary care.
Stay tuned for updates as we work towards achieving these goals. In April, at CRHC’s Forum meeting, you will have the opportunity to hear more on policy from Nathan Baugh from the National Association of Rural Health Clinics, from Kelly Erb, CRHC’s Policy Analyst, and from the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing. To register and see the full agenda, click here!