Document Type

Policy Brief

Publication Date



Access/Insurance, Rural Health Systems, Rural Health - efficient care, MRHRC, health system reform


There are growing concerns about the current and future state of rural health. Despite decades of policy efforts to stabilize rural health systems through a range of policies and loan and grant programs, accelerating rural hospital closures combined with rapid changes in private and public payment strategies have created widespread concern that these solutions are inadequate for addressing current rural health challenges. The rural health system of today is the product of legacy policies and programs that often do not “fit” current local needs. Misaligned incentives undermine high-value and efficient care delivery. While there are limitations related to scalability in rural health system development, rural communities do have enormous potential to achieve the objectives of a high performance rural health system. This brief (and a companion paper at discusses strategies and options for creating a pathway to a transformed, high performing rural health system.


The RUPRI Health Panel envisions rural health care that is affordable and accessible for rural residents through a sustainable health system that delivers high quality, high value services. A high performance rural health care system informed by the needs of each unique rural community will lead to greater community health and well-being.

Funding Organization

Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust

Grant Number




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