The Rural Healthcare Program of the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust and the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) held a roundtable listening session with diverse stakeholders in Sioux Falls on October 10 to assess the opportunities for federal policy reform that can ultimately improve rural health care services and delivery. Helmsley’s Rural Healthcare program provides grant funding to rural health-related projects in seven Upper Midwest states including Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming. Helmsley is partnering with BPC, a non-profit organization based in Washington, DC, which seeks bipartisan solutions to promote health, security, and opportunity for all Americans.

Several SDAHO members participated in the roundtable, including: Tammy Miller, CEO, Madison Regional Health System; Eric Hilmoe, Vice President, Sanford Health; Mark Schulte, President, Regional Health Sturgis Hospital; Paulette Davidson, President, Regional Health Rapid City Hospital; David Dick, CEO, Huron Regional Medical Center; Deanna Larson, CEO, Avera eCARE; Susan Berry, Director of Telehealth Services, Sanford Health; and Jen Porter, Vice President, SDAHO.

Other stakeholders represented education, commercial payers, rural health clinics, state agencies and other providers. The October 10 roundtable included representation on issues in South Dakota, North Dakota and Minnesota. Roundtables were also conducted in Billings, Montana, and Omaha, Nebraska.

Three specific topic areas covered included:

  • rural health workforce and training
  • telemedicine and optimizing care in rural areas
  • health care payment and delivery models for Critical Access Hospitals and other rural providers

Following the roundtables and targeted interviews, Helmsley and BPC will use the information obtained to develop a summary paper and inform additional work efforts to explore potential solutions.