Rebuilding the Foundation of Rural Community Health after COVID-19

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MRHRC, rural health, health system reform, financing, rural hospitals, community engagement, public health, population heatlh

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Medical Care Blog


In this blog post, the author discuss the rural community health system and how COVID-19 has exposed the cracks in its foundation. These cracks include increased risk of facility closures, loss of services, low investment in public health, maldistribution of health professionals, and payment policies ill-suited to low-volume rural providers. As a result, short-term relief to stabilize rural health systems and long-term strategies to rebuild their foundations are necessary. The authors note that rural America has an exceptional history of resilience, innovation, and collaboration, and recovery from COVID-19 will require new strategies to rebuild the crumbling rural health foundation. They discuss four policy cornerstones on which to build the rural health system: payment and delivery system reform, community engagement, local health planning, and regionalization, positing them as the base for strong and vibrant health systems serving rural America.

FMI: John Gale john.gale@maine.edu