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 06.10.2022
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!
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:
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:
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: