Date: 07/09/2009

Update on Rural Health


Votes: View--> Action Taken:

02:24 PM -- Update on Rural Health

Terri Hurst, Colorado Rural Health Care Center, and Sharon Adams, ClinicNet, introduced themselves and began their presentation regarding rural health care (Attachment G). They also distributed the 2008 Annual Report of the Colorado Rural Health Center (Attachment H). Ms. Hurst described the Colorado Rural Health Center, which serves as the State Office of Rural Health. She noted that there are provider shortages throughout the state and emphasized that access to health care will remain a problem regardless of whether or not everyone obtains insurance coverage.

090709 AttachG.pdf 090709 AttachH.pdf

02:29 PM

Ms. Hurst described Rural Health Clinics, noting that there are 44 Certified Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) in the state, and that the clinics are both free standing and provider-based. She described the reimbursement rates for RHCs through Medicare and Medicaid and other funding sources for rural health clinics. The clinics provide outpatient primary care services and must be located in a High Provider Shortage Area.

02:37 PM

Sharon Adams, ClinicNET, described ClinicNET. ClinicNET is a Colorado nonprofit corporation serving safety net clinics that are not federally-qualified health centers (FQHCs). RHCs, community nonprofit clinics and programs, family medicine residency programs, and school-based health clinics are part of ClinicNET. She responded to questions from Representative McCann regarding how facilities become designated as FQHCs, and why not all clinics have that designation.

02:40 PM

Katie Jacobson, Colorado Community Health Network, came to the table to respond to committee questions regarding how federally-qualified health care centers become designated as such. The presenters further discussed why or why not a clinic may not be designated as a FQHC.

02:46 PM

Ms. Adams discussed the distribution of safety net providers in the state. Ms. Hurst responded to questions from Senator Schwartz regarding the affect of House Bill 09-1111, which concerned health resources for underserved areas, on the availability on rural health care providers. Ms. Adams continued her discussion of ClinicNET, describing the priorities of the organization, including increasing the profile, visibility, and recognition of affiliated clinics, and enabling clinics to optimally serve vulnerable populations. She described the challenges and opportunities for RHCs, including that ARRA moneys were primarily designated for FQHCs, health information technology challenges, the vulnerability of the Primary Care Fund, whether there will be adequate providers to serve individuals who are newly eligible for Medicaid and the Children's Basic Health Plan, reform of Colorado's Medicaid program, and national health care reform. Ms. Hurst responded to questions from Senator Foster regarding how federal health care reform might affect rural health care clinics. The committee recessed briefly.