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Get a Checkup on the Top Financial Challenges of Rural Healthcare

Get a Checkup on the Top Financial Challenges of Rural Healthcare| EHR

Each year the National Rural Health Association (NRHA)’s Critical Access Hospital Conference brings together the best and brightest in the business of rural healthcare.

Aside from educational sessions designed for a diversity of hospital professionals and board members, NRHA’s Critical Access Conference also offers networking and thought leadership opportunities that attract professionals from across the nation.

With so many great minds gathered at the conference, MEDHOST is bringing back its traveling podcast lounge again this year at NRHA Critical Access Hospital Conference 2019 on Sept. 18-20, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri. In the podcast lounge, we’ll interview experts from across the rural healthcare industry live on the tradeshow floor!

A trademark characteristic of this annual conference is the myriad of opinions and unique perspectives of the show’s attendees. At last year’s event Virginia Rural Health Association Executive Director, Beth O'Connor, sat down with MEDHOST to dive into some of the biggest financial challenges facing rural healthcare.

As rural healthcare providers transition away from a fee-for-service model, O’Connor explains the challenge rural providers have had in the past regarding inequitable payment structures. She also underscores how devastating the loss of a hospital can be on a rural community, describing how the loss of healthcare access can initiate a domino-like effect of financial fallout. In fact, since 2010 two different rural hospitals in her native Virginia were forced to close.

In her interview, she also discusses the financial consequences of curbing the nationwide opioid epidemic. However, she admits that the federal government has begun to take the crisis more seriously, even distributing grants to rural communities like her own which they used to develop a patient-centric app. The app offers lessons on understanding safe opioid usage and the risk of addiction in an easy-to-understand format that patients can study in the comfort of their doctors’ office or waiting room.

Blue Mountain Hospital CEO Jeremy Lyman broke down some of the many other financial challenges facing rural hospitals in the MEDHOST podcast. Specifically, he discussed the far-reaching impact that hospital closures and reductions of health services can have on rural communities, while also emphasizing that a passion for community is at the heart of successful rural hospitals. In his own 11-bed hospital in Utah, Lyman explains how the rural marketplace has changed in his tenure and the vast acceleration of at-risk hospitals facing the danger of closure.

Lyman also notes how difficult it is for small, independent hospitals like his own to find new ways to increase revenue. For instance, traditional revenue stream boosts, such as bringing in a new cardiologist on staff, may be difficult or even impossible if the rural community doesn’t have the patient base to support those decisions. That’s why many rural clinics are forced to cut services, or alternatively switch to only offering emergency services.

Both of these interviews highlight the varying perspectives and considerations that bear discussion when it comes to financial health in rural healthcare, as well as that the financial obstacles faced by rural healthcare providers are entirely unique compared to those in urban areas.

Rural Healthcare Perspectives

MEDHOST believes every member of the rural health community deserves a platform to discuss their views so that we can connect health leaders together. In that effort to elevate and expand upon the national conversations taking place around rural healthcare, we’re offering conference attendees the chance to sign-up for a 15-20-minute interview in our podcast lounge in advance.

Click here to schedule your appointment now, or just stop by the podcast lounge in the foyer outside the Exhibit Hall when you’re there. We hope to see you in Kansas City in September.

To learn more about how MEDHOST can help revolutionize your rural healthcare organization or hospital, email us at or call 1.800.383.6278 to speak with one of our specialists.

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Further Reading:  

6 Strategies to Maximize Your Time at the NRHA’s Kansas City Conferences 

Podcasts: LIVE from NRHA’s Rural Health Policy Institute

Podcasts: LIVE from NRHA 2018 Critical Access Hospital Conference


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