The Center for Rural Affairs has released a report examining provisions of the new Health Care Reform legislation. The report examines how most rural communities and many rural Americans suffer from a severe health care provider and workforce shortage as well as an economically fragile health care delivery system. Ultimately this access challenge affects the health of rural people, families and communities. The newly enacted health care reform law provides numerous opportunities for rural areas to increase all medical professions and to stabilize their medical delivery systems.
Jon Bailey, the Center's Research Director and author of the report, says rural provisions in the new law are obviously long-term solutions to a significant challenge to rural health care. However most of these rural provisions will only work if Congress provides annual funding. He says the law's rural provisions must become priorities for the administration, Congress, state governments and all rural people.
Provisions highlighted in the report include funding opportunities for the training and education of rural physicians; expansion of other types of medical professionals needed in rural communities; recruiting young rural students for health care careers and the development of health care workforce strategies; expanding medical care facilities in rural and other underserved areas; improving emergency medical services; and initiatives focusing on healthier eating and living and earlier access to primary care providers.
For a look at the full report visit the Center for Rural Affairs Web site at www.cfra.org and click on the rural health care reform link.