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2022 Policy Agenda

LRHA has adopted the following policy agenda to promote rural health policy issues for action by the state legislature, state agencies, and the federal government.  This agenda is updated periodically as new issues, legislation, and policy are introduced. 

Last updated 05.16.2022

2022 LRHA Legislative Priorities

Equitable Access to Healthcare in Rural Communities

Robust Rural Healthcare Workforce

Investment in Rural Healthcare Sustainability

MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD!


Medicare Inpatient Hospital Payment (IPPS) Proposed Rule Feedback

LRHA is working closely with federal partners on advocating for federal resources to address rural health care issues in Louisiana. This month, CMS issued its annual proposed Medicare Inpatient Hospital Payment (IPPS) rule, which if finalized, would a have an impact on rural health care providers in Louisiana. The proposed rule would update Medicare fee-for-service payment rates and policies for inpatient hospitals and LTCHs and build on key priorities to address quality and maternity care.


We are requesting feedback from our members regarding the TEN (10) TOPICS in the proposed rule that would have an impact on rural health care providers in Louisiana. Please review the information below and submit any comments that you would like to share via the survey link by May 20, 2022.


We intend to use the feedback received from the members to help inform our collaborative advocacy with our federal partners, which include the National Rural Health Association (NRHA).


CLICK TO SUBMIT YOUR FEEDBACK


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National Rural Health Association Grassroots Advocacy


The National Rural Health Association (NRHA) has a number of resources available to help you actively and easily participate in national advocacy efforts.  NRHA's three main advocacy priority areas include: 1) addressing rural declining life expectancy and rural equity, 2) reducing rural health care workforce shortages and 3) investing in a strong rural safety net.  Visit their Advocacy page to view advocacy guides, policy "leave behinds" documents, and current campaigns that you can support today




PRIORITY 1: EQUITABLE ACCESS TO HEALTHCARE IN RURAL COMMUNITIES

Rural Louisianians experience significant health disparities. Health disparities are differences in health status when compared to the population overall, often characterized by indicators such as higher incidence of disease, increased mortality rates, lower life expectancies, and higher rates of pain and suffering. Rural risk factors for health disparities include geographic isolation, lower socioeconomic status, higher rates of health risk behaviors, limited access to health care providers, and limited job opportunities. In addition, the impact of COVID-19 has devastated the financial viability of rural health care provider practices, disrupted rural economies, and eroded availability of care. LRHA supports the following actions to strengthen and support the health of individuals in rural areas:

STATE

 Focus Related Legislative Positions
Promote and support activities that address general health disparities in rural areas of Louisiana.

SUPPORT HCR 44: Create the Health Inequities and Disparities in Rural Areas Task Force

Address current inequities in women and maternal health outcomes in rural areas by investing in research and programs that specifically address women and maternity issues. SUPPORT SB 116/HB 90:

Establishment of an Office of Women’s Health within the LDH


FEDERAL

 Focus Related Legislative Positions
Ensure continued federal focus on the unique challenges of rural healthcare. SUPPORT S 3149/HR 5848Rural Health Equity Act: Establishment of an Office of Rural Health within the CDC


PRIORITY 2: ROBUST RURAL HEALTHCARE WORKFORCE


Rural Louisiana communities face challenges in maintaining an adequate health care workforce, making it difficult to provide needed patient care or to meet staffing requirements for their facilities. Given this reality, 73% of Louisianians live in a primary care Health Professional Shortage Area and 93% live in a mental health Professional Shortage Area. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the workforce shortage in rural Louisiana. LRHA supports the following actions to help recruit, train, and obtain providers in rural areas:

STATE

 Focus Related Legislative Positions
Support health care providers practicing at the top of their scope of practiceSUPPORT SB 175/HB 543: Support appropriate exemption of advanced practice registered nurses from collaborative practice agreement requirements
 Support efforts to recruit and retain rural health professionalsAMEND & SUPPORT HB 406: Support the allocation of funding to the

Health Professional Development Program.  Advocate for amendment of the fund name from "Rural Primary Care Physicians Development Fund" to "Rural Primary Care Health Professional Fund".

FEDERAL

 Focus  Related Legislative Positions
Support investment in education and training of the future healthcare workforce  SUPPORT S 246/HR 851, The Future Advancement of Academic Nursing (FAAN) Act: Ensure nursing schools are equipped to increase capacity and build out the health workforce

PRIORITY 3: INVESTMENT IN RURAL HEALTHCARE SUSTAINABILITY

Investments in rural health programs by the state and federal government is a small portion of overall health care spending, but it is critical to rural Louisianians. These programs expand access to health care, improve health outcomes, and increase the quality and efficiency of health care delivery in rural Louisiana. Rural health care providers provide access to care, as well as jobs and other economic opportunities; these hospitals are often one of the largest employers in a rural community. LRHA supports the following actions to strengthen and support the rural health care:

STATE

 FocusRelated Legislative Positions
Prevent unnecessary interruption of cashflow for rural safety net providersSUPPORT SB 59: Prohibit MCOs from conducting unnecessary prepayment reviews 

FEDERAL

FocusRelated Legislative Positions
Increase the availability of telehealth services for individuals in rural communities SUPPORT S 1512/HR 2903, the Creating Opportunities Now for Necessary and Effective Care Technologies (CONNECT) for Health Act of 2021: Ensure rural health providers are able to continue providing telehealth services beyond the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency
Limit cuts to rural health care fundingSUPPORT HR 315, Medicare Sequester COVID Moratorium Act: Continue relief from Medicare sequestration

About the Association

Our Mission

  • To promote rural health as a distinct concern in Louisiana
  • To serve as a unified voice for health care providers, public officials, healthcare employees, educators and consumers working cooperatively to improve rural health in Louisiana
  • To provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and information related to the improvement of rural health
  • To serve as an advocate for rural health, promoting improved health status and improvements to the health system for residents of rural Louisiana
  • To encourage the development of appropriate health resources for Louisiana


Contacts

Denae Hebert, Executive Director 

dhebert@lrha.org

985-369-3813

133 Highway 402 / P.O. Box 387 

Napoleonville, LA 70390 

 

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