Toward a High Performing Rural Health Care System

Toward a High Performing Rural Health Care System: Key Issues and Recommendations from Rural Health Care System Innovators

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On December 6-7, 2018, the Rural Health Policy Research Institute’s (RUPRI) Health Panel convened a meeting in Washington, DC, of rural health leaders from around the country to discuss strategies and models for rural health care system innovation. In addition to the Health Panel, meeting participants included state and community leaders with firsthand knowledge of diverse, innovative health financing and service delivery initiatives as well as national rural health experts and stakeholders. The Health Panel identified the participating rural health care system innovators based on their groundbreaking approaches to health care financing and service delivery.

The meeting objectives were as follows:

  • To understand the policy and practice levers at a local, state, and national level that support or hinder local innovation as implemented in the models represented in this discussion
  • To recognize the uniqueness of each model while understanding the components that make it applicable and scalable to other rural communities
  • To specify attributes, design considerations, and program and community characteristics that are relevant across the models

This paper summarizes the key themes and recommendations that emerged directly from the structured conversations during this two-day meeting. The Health Panel hopes this summary can inform ongoing national and state policy discussions of strategies for strengthening and sustaining rural health care systems.

This report was written by Health Panel Members Keith J. Mueller, PhD, Charlie Alfero, MA, Andrew F. Coburn, PhD, Jennifer P. Lundblad, PhD, MBA, A. Clinton MacKinney, MD, MS, Timothy D. McBride, PhD
Paula Weigel, PhD (Guest Author); published 2019.