May 17,2018

Press Contact:

Nicole Hager (Hatch), 202-224-4515
Taylor Harvey (Wyden), 202-224-4515

Hatch, Wyden Announce Hearing on Improving Health Care in Rural America

WASHINGTON – Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) today announced that the committee will convene a hearing on improving health care in rural America. The hearing will take place on May 24 at 9 a.m. in Dirksen Senate Office Building Room 215. 

“Even as our nation’s healthcare system evolves and our demographic landscape shifts, rural and frontier hospitals and providers still face obstacles to delivering high-quality medical care as close to home as possible.” Hatch said. “Although the reasons are multi-faceted, a number of rural hospitals have closed their doors in recent years. For isolated rural and frontier communities, this makes accessing basic medical care in a timely manner much more difficult. This hearing will allow members to hear from experts about the state of health care in rural America, help define the unique challenges these communities face, and discuss targeted improvements Congress can make to the Medicare program that ensures rural and frontier providers, and the communities that they serve, remain strong and vibrant.” 

“Access to quality and affordable health care remains critical to life in rural communities,” Wyden said. “Rural communities across the country are facing unique and significant challenges as they try to maintain access to care, and more needs to be done to meet this challenge head on to ensure that every American can get the care they need. This hearing marks the start of an important initiative to ensure rural health care providers remain on a solid footing in communities that count on them. I look forward to hearing from rural health care providers and experts in the field about ways to help better meet the needs of rural communities and ensure Medicare beneficiaries have access to the high quality care they deserve.” 

The witnesses at Thursday’s hearing will be:

  • George H. Pink, PhD, Humana Distinguished Professor, Deputy Director, NC Rural Health Research Program Sheps Center for Health Services Research, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

  • Keith J. Mueller, PhD, Interim Dean, College of Public Health, Gerhard Hartman Professor in Health Management and Policy, Director, RUPRI Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis, Chair, RUPRI Health Panel

  • Konnie Martin, Chief Executive Officer, San Luis Valley Health

  • Susan K. Thompson, MS, BSN, RN, Senior Vice President of Integration and Optimization, CEO, UnityPoint Accountable Care, UnityPoint Health

  • Karen M. Murphy, PhD, RN, Executive Vice President, Chief Innovation Officer, and Founding Director of Glenn Steele Institute of Health Innovation, Geisinger

Who:     Senate Finance Committee

What:    Rural Health Care in America:  Challenges and Opportunities

Where: 215 Dirksen Senate Office Building; Washington, D.C. 20510

When:  Thursday, May 24, 2018 at 9 a.m.

For media inquiries and additional information, including webcast and testimony details, please visit: