The National Rural Health Association (NRHA) is a national nonprofit membership organization with more than 21,000 members. The association’s mission is to provide leadership on rural health issues through research, advocacy, communications and education. NRHA membership consists of a diverse collection of individuals and organizations, all of whom share the common bond of an interest in rural health.
The obstacles faced by health care providers and patients in rural areas are vastly different than those in urban areas. Economic factors, cultural and social differences, educational shortcomings, lack of recognition by legislators and the sheer isolation of living in remote areas all conspire to create health care disparities and impede rural Americans in their struggle to lead normal, healthy lives.
For more than 40 years, the National Rural Health Association has been serving rural communities by advancing and publicizing rural health issues and seeking to solve rural health care challenges. NRHA is the only national organization with a clear mission to improve the delivery of health services in rural areas, helping rural citizens build, maintain, and improve the institutions that can meet their health care needs by providing research, education, leadership and informational support.
NRHA’s activities bring together residents of rural communities, rural health professionals of all specialties, representatives of state, local and national governments and the full range of private sector rural health organizations. Our programs serve rural communities by providing relevant and timely information and best practices to all people who care about the health of rural America.
NRHA advocates for rural communities. Using the association’s legislative and regulatory policies and positions, NRHA advocates before Congress, the White House and federal agencies. The association serves as a primary rural resource to elected officials, policy leaders and other organizations on rural health initiatives and programs.
Through activities such as the annual Rural Health Policy Institute and ongoing grassroots campaigns and activities, NRHA members actively participate in advocacy efforts to bring about appropriate rural health policy and legislation. As an NRHA member benefit, the government affairs team holds monthly grassroots calls to inform you of what is happening in Washington to grassroots advocacy.
Our members set the policies and positions that NRHA advocates for at a national level. All members of the association can participate in the development of policy by submitting potential policy positions for consideration. Positions are then reviewed and approved by the Rural Health Congress, which is made up of a broad representation of our members.
The policy papers and statements adopted by the Rural Health Congress are the background and support for NRHA's Legislative and Regulatory Agenda, which reflects the mission and values of NRHA by highlighting issues of importance to our membership.
The NRHA fights for access to quality health care for rural Americans. “Since 2010, more than 80 rural hospitals have closed and counting. Right now, 673 additional facilities are vulnerable and could close – this represents over 1/3 of rural hospitals in the U.S.,” said Alan Morgan, CEO, NRHA. “If Congress doesn’t act, hundreds more could close, leaving hundreds of thousands of rural Americans without access to their local hospital.”
NRHA supports strong funding for the entire rural health care safety net. Mandatory, long-term funding for the Teaching Health Center and Rural Training Track professional training programs, the National Health Service Corps and the Community Health Center Fund is needed. Sustaining Medicaid primary care parity payments is critical to increasing access to providers for the rural poor. Increasing rural health clinics’ capitated payment rate will sustain these critical rural safety net providers as they treat new populations under health care reform.
For more information, visit www.ruralhealthweb.org.