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LRHA ADVOCACY

LRHA has adopted the following policy agenda and activities 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 07.28.2022

2022 LRHA Legislative Priorities

Equitable Access to Healthcare in Rural Communities

Robust Rural Healthcare Workforce

Investment in Rural Healthcare Sustainability

MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD!


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



CURRENT PROPOSED RULES OPEN FOR COMMENT


  • Rural Emergency Hospital and Critical Access Hospital Conditions of Participation

  Comments were submitted August 29, 2022 - VIEW LRHA'S SUBMITTED COMMENTS


  • CY 2023 Physician Fee Schedule
Comments were September 7, 2022

    • CY 2023 Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) Proposed Rule

    Comments were submitted September 13, 2022 - VIEW LRHA'S SUBMITTED COMMENTS

    2022 LEGISLATIVE AGENDA

    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

    STATUS

    This legislation easily passed with unanimous votes in both the House and Senate. LRHA President, Karen Wyble, and Executive Director, DenaĆ© Hebert, provided testimony in support of the legislation at public hearing. The bill was taken by the Clerk of the House and presented to the Secretary of State in accordance with the Rules of the House.  First meeting of the task force will be held by August 16, 2022.

    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

    STATUS

    SB 116 was passed and sent to the Governor for signature by the Secretary of the Senate on 6/8/2022.


    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 practice

    SUPPORT SB 175/HB 543: Support appropriate exemption of advanced practice registered nurses from collaborative practice agreement requirements

    STATUS

    These bills did not move forward during this session. In the legislative interim, LRHA intends to partner with allied organizations to educate legislators about the need for this bill so that the legislation moves forward in the 2023 legislative session. 

     Support efforts to recruit and retain rural health professionals AMEND & 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".

    STATUS

    This legislation has passed both houses and was signed by the Governor on May 30, 2022.  Becomes Act No. 167.  LRHA will work with LDH in the legislative interim to support utilization of this funding to increase recruitment and retention of the providers most needed in our rural areas.

    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

     Focus Related Legislative Positions
    Prevent unnecessary interruption of cashflow for rural safety net providers

    SUPPORT SB 59: Prohibit MCOs from conducting unnecessary prepayment reviews  

    STATUS

    Passed both houses and  unanimously and was sent to the Governor on June 2, 2022.


    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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