HomeLatest NewsAdvocacySDAHO Takes Part in Rural Health Policy Institute

SDAHO Takes Part in Rural Health Policy Institute

This past week, South Dakota Association of Healthcare Organization’s (SDAHO) COO, Tammy Hatting took part in the National Rural Health Policy Institute held in Washington D.C.

This is the 35th year for this event, hosted by the National Rural Health Association (NRHA). Attendees had the opportunity to attend policy specific sessions while networking with other rural health advocates from across the country.

One of the biggest takeaways was the opportunity for attendees to connect with their Congressional Delegation on Valentine’s Day to show our love for rural health and educate them on rural health policy priorities. Tammy Hatting and a team of providers from South Dakota had the opportunity to visit with all three of our federal congressional offices to discuss the staffing crisis, hospital finances, telehealth services, post-acute care services and the loss of OB services in rural areas.

Tammy Hatting and SDAHO Members met with Rep. Dusty Johnson

Hatting and team also had the opportunity to share the important work we are doing in South Dakota as a result of HRSA funding and 340B savings. We expressed the need for congress to extend two critical rural hospital programs and the urgency for lawmakers to build and protect the rural healthcare workforce.

Developing a rapport with our federal elected officials and staff is an important part of advocacy, and something that Hatting has been able to do often as she visits DC representing SDAHO members. “I’m thankful to have had the opportunity to visit with the staff of Sen. Thune and Sen. Rounds, and we were lucky to see Rep. Johnson in person during this trip, as it was very busy for the House of Represventatives this week. South Dakota’s congressional leaders always make time to be available during SDAHO’s hill visits to listen as we share the concerns of our members. We had several members and partners that also attended the conference and hill visits from USD, Eide Bailly, Avera Sanford, Winner and Wessington Springs which allowed them to speak directly with our congressional delegation.”

Hatting says, she was also able to participate in the NRHA policy congress where they work on the development of policy papers for important issues facing our rural healthcare providers. In South Dakota, roughly 38% of rural hospitals operate on a negative margin and 62% of rural hospitals are without OB services, so it is critical for SDAHO to participate in the advocacy work of our national associations to ensure the voice of South Dakota and the needs of our members is elevated. “We have to continue to invest in a strong safety net for the residents of South Dakota where 49 of 59 non-metro counties in our state are designated as primary care healthcare provider shortage areas (HPSAs).”

For more information on NRHA’s Rural Health Policy Institute, visit their website here. Or visit NRHA at www.ruralhealth.us.

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