Region C

Pre-Meeting and SORH Regional Partnership Meeting | 2021

Rural Hospital Bypass: Where are Rural Medicare Beneficiaries Going?

Rural hospitals are the anchor for health care delivery in most rural communities and provide access to essential health care services for the approximately 4 million Medicare beneficiaries who live in rural America. While rural residents may receive inpatient care in their local community, some rural residents receive inpatient services at hospitals that are not their nearest rural hospital (rural hospital bypass). When patients bypass their local rural hospital for the same services that are available locally, it can further threaten the sustainability of their local rural hospital and impede patients’ continuity of care. This presentation provides an overview of rural hospital bypass including: which Medicare beneficiaries bypass their local rural hospitals; what services are most likely sought at distant hospitals (that are also available locally); and, what role telehealth plays in keeping patients local for inpatient care. In addition, hear perspectives from rural stakeholders regarding why rural hospital bypass occurs and what approaches may be used to decrease the number of patients leaving their rural communities for inpatient care.

Assessing State-Based Rural and Urban Mortality Differences

This session will highlight state-based rural-urban mortality differences. It will provide an overview of a new health disparity surveillance tool and explain how rural-urban mortality differences can be used to target future funding to close gaps or maintain improvements in rural health.

Crisis Collide – How the COVID Pandemic is Pushing Rural Healthcare to the Brink

For the last decade, declining revenue, loss of services and hospital closures have defined the national narrative surrounding the rural health safety net. As COVID-19 engulfed rural communities, new pressure points and factors (e.g. staff burnout, relief funding, community distrust of healthcare) have emerged which will significantly impact rural hospital operations and finances throughout 2021 and beyond. Offering an expansive view into the state of rural healthcare as it grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic and the hospital closure crisis, this session will focus on:  Understanding the intersection between rural hospital closures, vulnerability, and the realities brought about by the pandemic;  Identifying rural hospital leadership concerns for the short- and long-term impact of COVID-19 on the rural health safety net;  The evolving role of SORHs in helping hospitals navigate the pandemic’s aftermath; and Outlining key considerations and strategic imperatives for maintaining dual models of care.  

Closing the Gap – Public Libraries and Public Health

Small and rural public libraries have great potential to contribute to cross-sector public health collaboration. During the COVID-19 Pandemic, small and rural public libraries worked with health departments to address food insecurity, vaccine avoidance, and to increase social connectedness. Based on two federally-funded projects: HEAL (Healthy Eating and Active Living) at the Library via Co-Developed Programming (IMLS #RE-246336-OLS-20, and Community Health and Wellness: Small and Rural Library Practices, Perspectives, and Programs (IMLS #18-19-0015-19) this presentation will provide participants with evidence-based strategies they can use to harness the power of public libraries for public health. These strategies include: 1) The cross-promotion of events and initiatives, 2) Inviting librarians to participate in CHA and CHNA, and to otherwise participate in community coalitions, and 3) Collaborating with librarians to offer evidence-based programming in the safe and trusted space of the public library. The panel will also cover how to effectively communicate with public library partners. As public health practice and public librarianship evolve to meet the current needs of communities, their goals and missions are converging, but the two domains use different language. We’ll conclude by discussing how to find common ground, establish shared language, and identify areas of collective impact in which public libraries and public health departments can work together to promote the health of their communities.