Rural Health Leadership Radio™

Over the last ten years, over 100 rural hospitals have closed their doors. Roughly one in three rural hospitals have been identified as “at risk.” If there was ever a need for strong leadership, that time is now. RHLR’s mission is to provide a forum to have conversations with rural health leaders to discuss and share ideas about what is working, what is not working, lessons learned, success stories, strategies, things to avoid and anything else you want to talk and hear about. RHLR provides a voice for rural health. The only investment is your time, and our goal is to make sure you receive a huge return on your investment. For more information, visit or e-mail
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Rural Health Leadership Radio™



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Now displaying: May, 2017
May 31, 2017

This week’s guest is Carolyn Bruce, Chief Executive Officer of Western Healthcare Alliance and Healthcare Management and the Executive Director for the California Critical Access Hospital Network, and Network to Network Strategies.   A native of San Diego, CA, Carolyn started her career in healthcare in 1989 after attending San Diego State University and earning a Master of Business Administration Degree from Western State Colorado University.  She worked for a 350-bed tertiary hospital as the Director of Planning and Community Health before taking her current position with WHA 20 years ago (this year!).  

When we look at those successful CEOs, they've actually gone past and beyond looking for cost savings.

Carolyn currently manages a portfolio of consulting, programs and services designed to assist rural providers in reducing costs through their combined volume and purchasing power, while creating sustainability in their communities.  She is a licensed Colorado Insurance Producer and currently serves on the advisory committees for the National Rural Health Association ACO Leadership Committee, Rural Health Center Health Information Informant Group, Rural Health Innovations with the National Rural Health Resource Center, the Mayo Clinic National Symposium of Healthcare Reform, Mesa County Community Health Assessment Taskforce, and the Community Board for the CU School of Medicine Clinical Campus Expansion.  She has served as the President of the National Cooperative of Health Networks (NCHN). She was recognized as “2011 Network Director of the Year” by NCHN.

May 23, 2017

Today’s guest is Dr. Elisha Yaghmai, CEO of FreeState Healthcare, formerly known as Vigilias Telehealth.

Born in California, Dr. Yaghmai has lived in every major region of the United States, and logged time in Africa and Asia. He went into medicine to change the world, but found medicine changed him instead. FreeState Healthcare is his way of fighting back by bringing doctors to Rural America via telemedicine.

“How do we take the one doc and multiply their force to make them available to 20 communities simultaneously? How do we do that? Telemedicine seemed to be the answer to that question.”

Dr. Yaghmai is double-boarded in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics, and has worked in both rural Kansas and multi-hospital, tertiary referral centers. He has experience as an adult and pediatric hospitalist, urgent care physician, emergency medicine doctor, and rural primary care provider – all part of his informal master plan to learn as much as possible about as much as possible the better. Elisha believes telemedicine has the power to fundamentally change healthcare delivery for Rural America.

He completed his undergraduate work at Harvard University, earned his Masters of Public Health and Tropical Medicine at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, and went to medical school at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School of Dallas.

May 16, 2017

In this week’s episode of Rural Health Leadership Radio, we’re having a conversation with Dave Pearson, President & CEO of the Texas Organization of Rural & Community Hospitals, also known as TORCH.

TORCH is a professional association whose members consist of acute care hospitals with under 150 beds.

“…exciting things going on here and a lot of it is pointed toward that future where we're not all just doing fee-for-service healthcare anymore, we're doing something that's much larger…”

Before becoming CEO, Dave served as VP of Advocacy and Communications for six years. Prior to coming to TORCH, Dave was Director of Operations for the State Office of Rural Health. Before that he held management positions at a rural hospital co-op in Kansas and a major medical center in Kansas City.

Dave holds a Bachelors in Healthcare Administration and a Master’s in Public Administration from Texas State University. He is an ACHE Fellow and Board Certified in Healthcare Management.

Dave, his wife Laura and their two sons, David and Will, reside in Cedar Park, Texas.

May 9, 2017

In this episode of Rural Health Leadership Radio, we’re having a conversation with Lynn Barr, CEO of Caravan Health.  Lynn is an energetic entrepreneur with thirty years of experience in healthcare, where she has shepherded four start-ups and twelve medical inventions through research, the FDA and on to worldwide markets.

Through Caravan Health, Lynn is a recognized leader in the development and execution of national scale programs that bring better care to patients and help health care practices succeed. Caravan Health supports more than 17,000 independent primary care providers making the transformation to value-based payments with affordable, simple solutions that achieve outstanding results. In 2015, Caravan Health ACO participants outperformed all other Medicare Accountable Care Organizations in reducing costs and improving quality. 

“Leadership has a lot to do with courage. It's really about the courage to stand up and say what you believe, and to pick a path, and hope people will follow.”

While pursuing her Master’s Degree in Public Health, Lynn led the California Health IT and Exchange Strategic Planning Team under California Health and Human Services, formed the Rural Health Information Technology Consortium and assessed HIT status of California Rural and Critical Access Hospitals. She developed a $20 million rural hospital loan program with United Health Group and led 13 rural hospitals through vendor acquisition to meaningful use. While acting as the CIO of a critical access hospital, she created the National Rural Accountable Care Organization to overcome barriers for rural providers to participate in innovative payment models under healthcare reform.

May 2, 2017

The 2017 TORCH Annual Conference & Trade Show (TORCH = Texas Organization for Rural and Community Hospitals) was held in Dallas, TX, April 18 - 20.  The title of the meeting was New Directions in Rural Healthcare.

“The environment for rural health, as you know, is very challenging.  We have a lot of issues and things we need to think about.”  

Dave Pearson, CEO, TORCH

During the meeting, Rural Health Leadership Radio roamed the meeting rooms, hallways and exhibit hall, approaching attendees and simply asking what their key take-a-way was for the meeting.  As you might imagine, there were a variety of comments from a variety of people.  I hope you enjoy today’s special episode or Rural Health Leadership Radio.

You can learn more about TORCH by visiting