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Getting Connected: Can the ACA Improve Access to Health Care in Rural Communities?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

All states, even those with large centers of urban population, have rural communities and rural residents among their citizens. Residents of rural communities face unique health care challenges, including fewer health care providers, higher rates of chronic disease, and lower adoption rates of health IT.

Many provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) speak to the needs of rural communities, for instance, by addressing health workforce shortages. The law expands health professional training programs, makes it easier for providers in rural areas to benefit from technology and makes it easier for rural residents to connect with providers.

A number of activities related to getting rural communities connected electronically and to increasing the health care workforce started under the Recovery Act (ARRA) and continue to be supported under ACA. They often involve state and federal government and public-private partnerships.

What specific provisions in the new law pertain to rural health care? How do they build on what ARRA started? What opportunities do these provisions present and what are some of the challenges for states and the federal government in implementation? What lessons are being learned from the Beacon Communities?

To address these and related questions, the Alliance for Health Reform and the United Health Foundation sponsored an October 13 briefing. The briefing looked at current health care policy initiatives pertaining to rural health care issues, with a special focus on health information technology, and the opportunities and challenges that health reform implementation presents.

Panelists were: Tom Morris, HRSA Office of Rural Health Policy; Clinton MacKinney, University of Iowa; and Mario Gutierrez, California Center for Connected Health Policy. Ed Howard of the Alliance and Catherine Anderson of the UnitedHealth Group co-moderated.


 Tom Morris, HRSA Office of Rural Health Policy, Speaker
 Clinton MacKinney, University of Iowa, Speaker
 Mario Gutierrez, Calif. Center for Connected Health Policy, Speaker
 Ed Howard, Alliance for Health Reform, Moderator
 Catherine Anderson, UnitedHealth Group, Moderator
(Click on the camera icon to see a video of the speaker's presentation.)

Transcript, Event Summary and/or Webcast and Podcast

Transcript: Transcript (Adobe Acrobat PDF), 10/27/2010
Event Summary: Event Summary (Word Document), 10/15/2010
Full Webcast/Podcast: Getting Connected: Can the ACA Improve Access to Health Care in Rural Communities?

The full webcast and podcast for this briefing, as well as videos of individual speakers' presentations, are provided by Kaiser Family Foundation.

Speaker Presentations

Clint MacKinney (PowerPoint), 10/13/2010
Mario Gutierrez (PowerPoint), 10/13/2010

(If you want to download one or more slides from these presentations, contact us at info@allhealth or click here for instructions.)

Source Materials

Agenda (Word Document), Alliance for Health Reform , 10/7/2010
Materials List (Word Document), Alliance for Health Reform , 10/7/2010
Source List (Word Document), Alliance for Health Reform , 10/7/2010
Event Summary (Word Document), Alliance for Health Reform, 10/15/2010

Offsite Materials (briefing documents saved on other websites)

What is Telemedicine and Telehealth? (Adobe Acrobat PDF),American Telemedicine Association , 1/1/2010
Overview of Center for Connected Health Policy, Center for Connected Health Policy, 10/7/2010
Specialty Care Safety Net Initiative, Center for Connected Health Policy, 10/7/2010
A Case Study of Rural Health Care in the Economic Downturn (Adobe Acrobat PDF),North Carolina Rural Health Research and Policy Analysis Center, 10/1/2009
RWJF Grant Supports Innovative Telehealth Model for Bringing Specialty Care to Rural and Underserved America, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation , 8/20/2009
Beacon Community Program, Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, 9/30/2010
A Series Examining Health Care Issues in Rural America (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Center for Rural Affairs, 7/1/2010
- Author Jon M. Bailey
Connecting California: The Impact of the Stimulus Package on Broadband and Telehealth Expansion (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Center for Connected Health Policy, 4/1/2009
Positive Provisions for Rural America in the Affordable Care Act - NRHA Government Affairs and Policy, National Rural Health Association, 3/19/2010
The Crossroads of Telehealth, Electronic Health Records, and Health Information Exchange (Adobe Acrobat PDF),The Northwest Regional Telehealth Resource Center, 1/1/2010
- Author Christina Beach Thielst
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010: Impacts on Rural People, Places and Providers: A First Look (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Rural Policy Research Institute, 9/16/2010
Telemedicine Coverage Now Mandated in Virginia, American Medical News, 4/19/2010
- Author Chris Silva
Telemedicine Offers Doctor’s House Calls, Bangor Daily News, 8/17/2010
- Author Meg Haskell
Health Services to be Connected; Broadband Project Will Help Link Providers to Their Patients Who Live in Rural Parts of the State, Charleston Daily Mail , 9/29/2009
CCHP and Partners Urge CMS to Approve Credentialing Rule Change, Center for Connected Health Policy, 7/23/2010
In Focus: Improving the Quality of Rural Health Care Through Collaboration, The Commonwealth Fund, 12/1/2009
- Author Sarah Klein
Are the Stars Aligning for Telemedicine's Success?, CNET News, 7/20/2009
- Author Marguerite Reardon
UPMC Among Few in State Using 'tele' Technology, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 8/29/2010
- Author Sean D. Hamill
General (Real-Time) Telehealth, United States Department of Veteran Affairs, 1/27/2009
The Causes and Consequences of the Rural Uninsured and Underinsured, (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Center for Rural Affairs , 4/1/2009
- Authors Dr. Joe Blankenau Jon M. Bailey Julia Hudson
Profile of Rural Health Insurance Coverage: A Chartbook (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Rural Health Research and Policy Centers, 6/1/2009
- Prepared by Jennifer D. Lenardson, M.H.S. Erika C. Ziller, M.S. Andrew F. Coburn, Ph.D. Nathaniel J. Anderson, M.P.H.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: A Summary of Provisions Important to Rural Health Care Delivery (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Rural Policy Research Institute, 6/1/2010
- Author Keith J. Mueller, Ph.D.


Tom Morris of HRSA's Office of Rural Health Policy described how the new reform law will benefit rural America, at the Oct. 13 briefing cosponsored by the United Health Foundation. (9 min.)

Clint MacKinney of the RUPRI Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis explains why the health reform law will have a disproportionately positive effect on rural America. From the Oct. 13 briefing cosponsored by the United Health Foundation. (11 min.) 

Mario Gutierrez of the Center for Connected Health Policy describes how California has encouraged the use of telehealth. From the Oct. 13 briefing cosponsored by the United Health Foundation. (13 min.)


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