Topics: Access

Rural Health Clinic Program at 45 Years: Created for Access and Still Delivering Care

front entrance of a Rural Health Clinic


After a 1965 public law created the Medicare and Medicaid programs, many rural residents insured by these government health programs were unable to access care. This challenge was remedied by another public law: the Rural Health Clinic Services Act of 1977. Using a historical framework, rural health policy experts, researchers, and clinicians reviewed the Act’s impact on outpatient healthcare delivery in rural America.

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October 26, 2022

A Career of Influencing Rural Healthcare Delivery: Bill Finerfrock and the NARHC Origin Story

Bill Finerfrock.


Over 5,200 rural organizations participate in the Rural Health Clinics program, a reimbursement model dedicated to rural low-volume healthcare delivery and now in its 45th year. The National Association of Rural Health Clinics — in its 30th year — is a membership organization that emerged as the program increased its participants. Bill Finerfrock, association cofounder and its recently retired executive director, shared the group’s origin story as well as touchpoints from his own career.

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October 26, 2022

Philanthropy, Cross-Collaboration, and the Ecosystem That Is Rural Healthcare Delivery: Q&A with Dr. Shao-Chee Sim

Shao-Chee Sim


As vice president for research, innovation, and evaluation at Texas-based Episcopal Health Foundation, Shao-Chee Sim, PhD, discusses how philanthropic organizations can make small rural research investments — and, in particular, leverage cross-funder collaboration — that impact not only funders themselves, but also healthcare delivery systems and the rural Americans they serve.

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September 21, 2022

Wiping Away the Tears: Addressing Increasing Death in Rural America

text showing a definition of the term mortality


Rural mortality rates had been improving until recent years when a perfect storm of the opioid epidemic and COVID-19 pandemic converged to reverse these gains. However, federally funded efforts have sought to stem the tide through community, clinical, and policy efforts.

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July 13, 2022

Staving Off One’s Mortality: Rural Kidney Health and Its Disparities

patient at dialysis center


For the 240,000 rural Americans with complete kidney failure, it’s likely that very few knew they even had kidney disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, kidney disease is usually silent; 90% of people with kidney disease don’t know they have it. With research pointing to the high costs of kidney disease for pediatric and adult patients alike — mostly covered by Medicare — experts and researchers discuss rural disparities around access to disease-stabilizing treatment and to renal replacement therapies.

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June 15, 2022

Bringing Mental Health Services to Rural Residents

graphic with the words mental health and related icons


A new library initiative in Texas and an established crisis line in Georgia are bringing mental health services directly to rural residents through teams of lay mental health workers and mental health professionals.

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May 4, 2022

A New Era of Health Literacy? Expanded Definitions, Digital Influences, and Rural Inequities

person using a phone to access information


The priority for rural population health is access, including access to health information needed to make personal health decisions. Two of the nation’s health literacy experts join a federal agency official to review current rural challenges of accessing health information that is clear and usable. Along with an exploration of digital health literacy, recently expanded definitions of health literacy are discussed.

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February 2, 2022

Understanding the “Tool-ish-ness” of Telehealth: Q&A with Dr. Jonathan Neufeld

Dr. Jonathan Neufeld


Clinical psychologist and program director for the Great Plains Telehealth Resource & Assistance Center, Dr. Jonathan Neufeld, clarifies telehealth as an “enabler” of healthcare delivery. Emphasizing that telehealth is only a set of telecommunication tools, he details how the unique use and flexibility of these tools by skilled providers can bring quality care and impact rural health equity.

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December 8, 2021