Members and staff from SDAHO recently participated along with more than 650 other attendees from across the country in the CMS Rural Health Solutions Summit.

The daylong event was hosted by the CMS Rural Health Council and facilitated by John Hammarlund, CMS regional administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and Cara James, director of the CMS Office of Minority Health and co-chair of the council. Remarks were shared by Sylvia Burwell, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Andy Slavitt, CMS’ acting administrator, Karen DeSalvo, MD, acting assistant secretary of health and other CMS leaders.

The summit included updates on the work CMS and other agencies are doing to support issues impacting rural providers. A panel discussion showcased examples of innovative initiatives underway in rural communities across the country. Many of the areas were addressed and highlighted in the recently released SDAHO Vulnerable Communities Task Force report.

The event included three breakout session discussions:

  • Essential health services in rural communities
  • Enhancing innovation in rural health care delivery
  • Modernizing telemedicine

The breakout sessions identified a number of opportunities for shared learning in these areas. The CMS Rural Health Council shared next steps in its efforts to engage and learn with rural health care providers. Council members developed a draft vision statement and announced upcoming listening sessions in 10 cities across the country to help shape and evolve the vision. The locations will be announced in the next few weeks.

SDAHO will continue to engage in this important work and critical conversations to advocate for and advance healthy communities in South Dakota. Additional updates and information will be shared as it becomes available.