Office for Rural Health Policy Celebrates Milestone

"The Office of Rural Health Policy is the voice of rural America within HHS. Their relationship with officials and providers within these communities offers us a better understanding of needs on the ground and informs the decisions we make at the federal level," HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services observed National Rural Health Day and also celebrate the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Office of Rural Health Policy on Nov. 15. It was created in 1987 under the Social Security Act to advise the secretary on policies affecting rural health, and its personnel work with state and local partners to enhance delivery of services to 62 million people.

"The Office of Rural Health Policy is the voice of rural America within HHS. Their relationship with officials and providers within these communities offers us a better understanding of needs on the ground and informs the decisions we make at the federal level," Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said.

Sponsored by the National Organization for State Offices of Rural Health, National Rural Health Day is observed on the third Thursday in November and recognizes the work done by rural health care providers, state Offices of Rural Health, and other rural community leaders. "There are so many challenges in rural communities," said HRSA Administrator Mary K. Wakefield, Ph.D., RN. "With an aging population suffering from a greater number of chronic conditions and larger percentages of under- and uninsured citizens than urban areas, access to vital health care services and health care providers is a critical issue in these areas."

"In many cases, rural hospitals are the economic foundation of their communities, in addition to being the primary providers of care," said Tom Morris, associate administrator of the Office of Rural Health Policy. "It's our mission to help them keep their doors open and provide quality care to their communities."

For more information, visit http://www.hrsa.gov/ruralhealth.

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