Rural Health Delivery System Faces Unique Needs and Pressures

National policy conference on the health care needs of rural areas

In 1997, the Washington-based Alpha Center for Health Planning sponsored a one-and-one-half day national policy conference to explore how major changes in the system of health care financing and delivery will affect the health care delivery system and access to health services in rural areas.

Key Results

  • The conference, entitled "Putting the Rural Health Care Delivery System at Risk," took place on May 8–9, 1997, in Washington. The project brought together 144 people from the field of rural health care: federal, local and state policymakers and regulators; health care researchers and analysts; and rural providers.

    Among the major issues for rural health care providers that emerged from the conference:
    • A fear of loss of control under managed care.
    • The practical and moral obligation to serve the uninsured and vulnerable populations in rural areas.
    • The importance of major payers in changing the rural health delivery system.
    • Whether national standards for quality and access can work for both metropolitan and rural areas.
    • Risk-adjustment and other payment issues.


The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) supported this project through a grant of $108,969.

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