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BPC to Examine Challenges and Opportunities for Improving Rural and Frontier Health

Washington, D.C.– The Bipartisan Policy Center announced today that it will begin exploring the unique challenges in rural and frontier health and the opportunities for bipartisan policy reforms that could be advanced at the federal and state levels. The project, funded through a grant from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, will focus on populations living in remote areas of Upper Midwest states, including: Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming.

“Our aim is to examine the critical health care issues facing America’s Upper Midwest region and identify the immediate and long-term opportunities for reforms,” said BPC Senior Vice President G. William Hoagland. “People living in these remote areas are typically older, uninsured, have limited access to primary care, and therefore are less healthy.”

This project will focus on some of the main challenges in rural and frontier communities, including: 1) rural provider workforce and training; 2) intrastate and interstate practice of telemedicine, access and speed of broadband, and reimbursement; and 3) models of health care payment and delivery of care for Critical Access Hospitals, Rural Healthcare Clinics, and other rural providers.

“Evolving technology and health systems transformation present real opportunities to improve rural health care delivery and patient outcomes,” said Walter Panzirer, a Trustee at the Helmsley Charitable Trust. “That’s why it’s critical we explore the current rural health care environment to understand the region’s needs and the viable reforms for future policy decisions.”

BPC’s fact-finding mission will include holding one-on-one interviews and private group discussions with a variety of stakeholders and experts both in the Upper Midwest region and at the federal level. In December, an event will be held at BPC to release a paper on the project’s findings and any recommended next steps.

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