I have spent forty years in my professional life working with and representing rural community healthcare providers—hospitals and physicians who are dedicated to their communities and share a mission-driven approach to providing healthcare services for the people they serve, close to home. In these forty years of observing the changes to rural community healthcare, I have never been as alarmed as I am today at the current plight of these providers and their now uncertain future in many communities across the country.
Government policy regarding the payment and provision of healthcare in
this country is forcing a consolidation of the industry that can have the effect of inhibiting access to healthcare by rural communities; it is happening as you read this. In fact, changes are happening so fast that it is difficult, if not impossible, for those elected officials and others who may be responsible for the governance of local healthcare systems to keep up, or even understand the forces that are impacting their community’s healthcare providers and services.
We believe that a coordinated, integrated, even “holistic” approach to addressing the increasing problems with keeping healthcare local is the solution for those community leaders who are charged with the responsibility of a rural community healthcare system. In discussing the real-world problems with elected officials, for instance, we see the difficulty they have in understanding the problem, diagnosing the unique issues in their community, and prescribing the right treatment going forward.
The Rural Healthcare Initiative seeks to provide the solutions that are needed for each rural community hospital in this challenging environment by introducing a unique, one-of-a-kind multidisciplinary approach. We have already brought together the knowledge and the skills needed to address the problems facing healthcare providers in rural communities today; these resources are the members of the Rural Healthcare Initiative that are introduced to you in this website.
Simply put, our initiative’s mission is to thoughtfully re-imagine and re-purpose rural community healthcare, one community at a time. We hope that you will find the approach, the resources, and our members’ dedication to this critical mission helpful to you and your community.
About the author: As a transactional healthcare attorney, Bob Wilson is a partner at Nelson Mullins and a co-founder of Rural Healthcare Initiative.