This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio, we’re talking about investing in pulmonary rehabilitation at critical access hospitals. We’re having that conversation with Dr. Steve Barnett, CEO of McKenzie Health System in Sandusky, Michigan.
“We have an obligation to try and manage this population and do a better job than we’ve historically done.”
~Dr. Steve Barnett
Dr. Barnett has served as hospital Chief Operating Officer and Chief Executive Officers for the past 18 years, currently serving as the President and CEO of McKenzie Health System. He began his healthcare career as a Respiratory Therapist, attending Oakland University where he received his Bachelor’s degree in Nursing. Dr. Barnett would go on to receive his Master’s degree in Nursing from Southern Connecticut State University as well as his Doctorate in Healthcare Administration from Central Michigan University.
“Improving the health of your community often requires investment in services that may not have a significant payback financially, but the payback in terms of the health of the individuals that benefit from those services is enormous.”
~Dr. Steve Barnett
Dr. Barnett is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, and is a member of the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services and serves as a member of the National Rural Health Resource Center’s Technical Assistance and Services Center Advisory Committee. He also serves on numerous healthcare-related boards and is an Assistant Professor of Central Michigan University’s College of Medicine.
This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio, we’re talking about pulmonary and cardiac rehabilitation. We’re having that conversation with Tracy Conroy, CEO, Valerie Roark, Director of Cardiopulmonary Services, and Connie Wilson, Cardiac/Pulmonary Rehabilitation Nurse at Daviess Community Hospital.
“Don’t let fear of the unknown keep you from seeking the care and the treatment and talking to your physician about what you can do to improve your lifestyle.”
Tracy Conroy has over 25 years of leadership experience in both acute and long-term care, population health management, outpatient clinics, and regional partnerships. She is very knowledgeable about patient experience, revenue growth, patient quality and safety, physician recruitment, and capital construction. Tracy is also an active member of the Indiana Rural Health Association, Rotary Club of Washington, IN., American Red Cross, and serves on the Board of Directors for the Daviess County Economic Development Corporation. Tracy is passionate about expanding access to care for all residents and collaborating with the community to promote positive health outcomes.
“Having programs like Pulmonary Rehab is what gives me hope because I know that the patients that come into pulmonary rehab and that really embrace what we teach in there, that it’s life-changing for them.”
Connie Wilson MSN, RN, CCRP, CCEP, Certificate in Pulmonary Rehabilitation currently serves as the Cardiac/Pulmonary Rehabilitation nurse at Daviess Community Hospital. She has been a nurse for 34 years, with 28 years in Cardiac Rehabilitation and 25 years in Pulmonary Rehabilitation. Connie is an active member of the Indiana Society of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation, being on the board of directors and serving as President in 2007 and 2018.
“There’s hope on the horizon that people will live a better quality of life as they progress through the phases of COPD.”
Valerie Roark is a Registered Respiratory Therapist working with Daviess Community Hospital in Washington, IN for the past 30 years as the Director of the Cardiopulmonary Department, EEG's, Sleep Diagnostics and Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation. She feels she has positively impacted the Daviess Community Hospital and the community it serves by raising the level of professionalism within the departments she provides oversight by recruiting and hiring highly-skilled, passionate, caring professionals whether it be respiratory therapists, registered nurses or in our most recent hire of exercise physiologists for our cardiac and pulmonary rehab programs.
This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio, we’re talking about coding and billing for COPD services. We’re having that conversation with Lindsay Corcoran, Senior Consultant at Stroudwater Associates, and Laurie Daigle, Senior Consultant at Stroudwater Revenue Cycle Solutions.
“Anything that encourages people to be more aware of their health and provide support for people to take responsibility can have an enormous benefit.”
Laurie is a certified professional coder with over 18 years of experience in medical insurance claim processions, medical billing software training, auditing, and healthcare financial management. She has years of experience as a manager for a national commercial payer, and has extensive knowledge in Healthcare Management, from physician group practices to large academic institutions. She has been instrumental in the creation of Revenue Integrity resources to unify coding, billing, and compliance initiatives to increase physician and departmental productivity, to improve business office efficiency and accuracy.
“COPD, respiratory diseases and pulmonary rehabilitation is getting so much attention right now with a focus specifically to support rural communities and their needs.”
Lindsay has been a consultant at Stroudwater for almost six years, mainly consulting in the rural healthcare landscape to support rural hospitals and medical practices in financial, operational and quality improvement. Prior to consulting, she was a Practice Administrator for outpatient physical therapy clinics in southern Maine. Lindsay has a passion for improving and sustaining rural health care services because of their foundational importance in rural communities.
This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio we’re talking about respiratory and cardiac care. We’re having that conversation with Michelle Collins, Registered Respiratory Therapist at Lincoln Health, Franklin Memorial Hospital, and Central Maine Medical Center.
“I have hope because there has been so much work that has been done over the last couple of years that is still very exciting.”
Michelle has worked in various aspects of healthcare from administrative to clinical for 30 years, with sixteen of those years being spent specializing in cardiac and respiratory care. She has been able to work with a large pulmonary practice and currently works at a critical access hospital, a rural trauma and cardiac center. Michelle also provides teaching and training in cardiac and pulmonary care throughout the state at businesses, hospitals, nursing facilities, educational institutions, and at health fairs for employees, patients, and aspiring and active clinical staff.
“Asking the right questions before we set patients up with medications and treatment plans for respiratory is huge.”
In her spare time, Michelle enjoys volunteering for many organizations. She is the President of the Maine Society for Respiratory Care, a Member of the American Association for Respiratory Care Political Action Contact Team, a Member of the Maine Health Allies, The COPD and Alpha 1 Advocacy Captain and Ambassador of Maine, a Harmonicas 4 Health Instructor, teaching Better Breathers Group, participant in the COPD National Action Plan Task Force and a Rural Health Advisory Team.
This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio we’re talking about community-based pulmonary rehabilitation. We’re having the conversation with Dr. Dan Doyle, Senior Physician in Family Medicine at New River Health Association, Physician and Consultant at Cabin Creek Health Center, and Medical Director at New River Breathing Center, a Black Lung Clinic.
Dr. Doyle grew up in Northern Indiana and attended the University of Notre Dame as a Liberal Arts major. After deciding to go to medical school in 1968, he went to Harvard Medical School, took two years off in the middle to work as a community organizer and health educator in an inner-city neighborhood of Boston, and finished medical school in 1974. In October of 1977, Dr. Doyle came to New River Health and has been there for 39 years!
~Dr. Dan Doyle
Dr. Doyle has also worked as the Medical Director of the Grace Anne Dorney Pulmonary Rehabilitation project of West Virginia since 2013, a collaborative effort of Cabin Creek Health System FQHC, New River Health Association FQHC, Southern West Virginia Health System FQHC, West Caldwell County FQHC in North Carolina, Boone Memorial Hospital, and Jackson General Hospital. Through this collaboration, community-based pulmonary rehabilitation services have been offered and provided.
This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio we’re talking about COPD prevalence and policy in rural areas. We’re having that conversation with Paul Moore, Senior Health Policy Advisor at the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy.
"This right here is an opportunity to both bend that healthcare cost curve and while we’re doing that, improve the health and reduce the burden on millions of folks suffering or soon to suffer with COPD."
Paul brings a lifetime of experience related to rural healthcare from both his family heritage and more than forty years in community and hospital pharmacy. His experience reaches beyond pharmacy as he has also been the CEO of a County Healthcare Authority, consisting of one of the nation’s earliest Critical Access Hospitals, EMS, a physician clinic and a Home Health Agency.
"I’m optimistic that in a payment environment where providers are incentivized to provide what will make the most difference, we’ll see more investment, improving prevention and treatments."
Paul is also a Past President of the National Rural Health Association and currently serves as the Executive Secretary for the National Advisory Committee for Rural Health and Human Services. He has seen the progression of COPD first-hand and as a pharmacist for over 30 years and hopes to garner national attention for the disease.
This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio we’re talking about COPD advocacy and activism. We’re having that conversation with Grace Anne Dorney Koppel, President of the Dorney-Koppel Foundation.
“Anyone who breathes actually can get COPD because we have this very large number, 25% of people who have never smoked a cigarette.”
~Grace Anne Dorney Koppel
Grace Anne is an educator, a behavioral scientist, and an attorney. She was diagnosed with very severe COPD in 2001 which led her on the path to COPD patient advocacy and activism. Since 2006, she has devoted her training, knowledge and professional life to achieving better outcomes and quality of life for the 30 million Americans and hundreds of million worldwide who have COPD. Grace Anne is a graduate of Fordham University (BA), Stanford University (MA), and Georgetown University School of Law (JD). She has also been awarded a PhD honoris causa from Fordham University, one of her alma maters.
“What gives me hope is that it’s treatable. We don’t have the cure today, but we do have treatments and one day, I do believe we will have a cure if enough of us speak out loudly.”
~Grace Anne Dorney Koppel
Grace Anne has been President of the Dorney-Koppel Foundation since 1999.One of the missions of the Dorney-Koppel Foundation is to provide start-up funding and strategic guidance for pulmonary rehabilitation centers in areas of high COPD prevalence, primarily in rural America, that have no access to pulmonary rehabilitation. Twelve Grace Anne Dorney Pulmonary Rehabilitation Clinics are now in operation in Kentucky, North Carolina, West Virginia, Louisiana and Maryland. Grace Anne also currently serves on the National Institute of Health’s NHLBI (National Heart, Lung, Blood Institute) Advisory Council.
This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio we’re talking about technology and transportation in rural health. We’re having that conversation with Jack Salo, Executive Director of the Rural Health Network of South Central New York.
“There’s a lot that technology can do to help us become more efficient and provide a higher level of transportation service to the rural population.”
Jack is a rural advocate and non-profit executive who has worked in South Central New York State for the past 35 years. His experiences range from leading health, human services to youth development organizations. As a rural health advocate, Jack works with a wide range of partners to address the root causes of health issues and health disparities. Central to his effort has been providing leadership to develop collaborative, regional projects including Getthere (transportation services), Rural Health Services Corps (AmeriCorps and VISTA services), and The Food & Health Network of South Central New York.
“I think we have to build on our strong community of practitioners and people who love rural health and rural places.”
Jack received his BA degree in Geography and his MS degree in Education from SUNY Oneota. Jack currently serves on the Board of Directors of the NYW Association for Rural Health and Care Compass Network, a regional DSRIP – Medicaid reform agency. He lives with his family on a small, diversified farm near Norwich, New York.
This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio we’re having a special Christmas episode where we talk about Angel Flight East. We’re having that conversation with Jessica Ames, Outreach and Events Director at Angel Flight East, and Dr. Greg Vallino, an Optometrist at Village Optical and volunteer pilot for Angel Flight East.
“There’s a light coming in for rural health and I feel like a lot more people are starting to pay attention to it now.”
Jessica attended Millersville University in Pennsylvania where she majored in Public Relations. During her college career she interned with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in Harrisburg where she developed her passion for working in nonprofit organizations. After graduating, she knew the field she wanted to work in and found Angel Flight East in 2014 and has been with the organization for five years.
“My wish is that one day people look up in the sky, and instead of seeing just a general aviation aircraft they would say “there’s another angel flying right by.””
~Dr. Greg Villano
Dr. Greg Villano is an Optometrist in Pennsylvania for a family-oriented private practice, as well as being a volunteer pilot for Angel Flight East. Dr. Villano grew his passion for flight his whole life and pursued his pilot license at 40 years old. He was introduced to Angel Flight East and has enjoyed the amazing feeling of making someone happy through both his volunteer and professional work.
This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio, we’re talking about recruiting in rural areas. We’re having that conversation with Alicia Ekstrom, Recruiting Specialist at The Chautauqua Center.
“When it comes down to it, that’s what really sells individuals is that – the meaning behind it and the emotion and passion that I do have for the Chautauqua Center.”
Alicia received her Bachelor’s degree in Health Service Management with a minor in Spanish in 2012 and has worked in various healthcare settings including insurance companies, group homes, and local hospitals. She has a passion for fitness and wellness, and teaches a fitness class called POUND. POUND is not only a physical workout, but also provides emotional and mental relief for all ages and capabilities.
“Leadership is more so someone guiding a group of people and providing that support and direction…”
Alicia was born and raised in Buffalo, New York and recently moved to the rural area known as Chautauqua County. She has always had a passion for helping others, and thrives on the constantly evolving nature of healthcare. Alicia enjoys the challenges and opportunities of recruiting and working in a rural area, and hopes to help fill the gaps present in the rural healthcare setting.
This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio, we’re talking about turning around distressed industries. We’re having that conversation with Tee Faircloth, the Founder and CEO of Coordinated Care Inc.
“Right now we’ve got a chance to really make a huge impact and really start to see this rural renaissance…”
Tee is originally from a small town in Georgia, and after college started a career in New York in finance, where he developed an expertise in industries that needed change and turnaround. After working in New York he decided to start his first company, a safari outfitter, where he would eventually create a line of clothing using nanotechnology to allow for extended time in extreme African heat.
“It’s about figuring out within your healthcare system, where you can add value.”
Tee’s experiences established his desire to spend his career turning around industries by figuring out where there is need and opportunity waiting to be realized. He has a 20-year record rebooting insolvent companies and distressed industries in the most effective way possible. As CEO of Coordinated Care Inc., he is at the forefront of revitalizing rural healthcare to make a difference for the 70 million Americans who depend on rural hospitals. If you would like to contact Tee, see his information below!
This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio, we’re talking about pharmacy in rural areas. We’re having that conversation with David Bowyer, Department Chair and Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice at the University of Charleston, School of Pharmacy.
“You have to be willing to take chances and be willing to stand up for what you believe in…”
David is a West Virginia native, where he attended West Virginia University and graduated from the School of Pharmacy. David has been a pharmacist for 35 years, having served in both hospital and community pharmacy, and made the switch to academia fourteen years ago.
“What excites me the most is the acceptance and willingness of the medical community to utilize the pharmacist and other members of the healthcare team to develop a real team approach to healthcare.”
David now serves as the Department Chair and Associate Professor at the University of Charleston, where he has 12 pharmacists working under him. To David, pharmacy was a way to remain in healthcare and take care of patients in a different way than other healthcare professionals.
This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio we’re talking about the work done through rural health organizations. We’re having that conversation with Maggie Sauer, Director of the State of North Carolina’s Office of Rural Health.
“People are committed to their community, they’re committed to the people in their community, and people volunteer across the community.”
The Office of Rural Health seeks to assist underserved communities through improved access, quality, and cost-effectiveness of healthcare. Maggie’s office administers over 300 contracts designed to improve these facets of healthcare for rural and underserved populations, returning over 86% of its budget directly back to North Carolina communities. Maggie also works to provide in-depth technical assistance to North Carolina’s Safety Net system.
“People in rural are amazing and should be held up as leaders in our country.”
Maggie is a Colorado native but has called North Carolina her home for 28 years. She grew up on the rural eastern plains of Colorado and credits her childhood experiences for her passion to serve and work in rural environments. She joined the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Rural Health as director in June 2017. She continued to serve as the President and CEO of the Foundation for Health Leadership and Innovation in North Carolina for over five years. Maggie’s Office of Rural Health will celebrate its 45th anniversary of serving the underserved this year!
Happy National Rural Health Day!
This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio, we have a special episode in celebration of National Rural Health Day.
“National Rural Health Day began as a way to positively recognize and celebrate the individuals and teams who give their very best selves in the name of rural health.”
We’ll hear from several rural health leaders including Karen Madden, the inventor of National Rural Health Day and Director of the Charles D. Cook Office of Rural Health within the New York State Department of Health, Shannon Calhoun, a rural health leadership expert, Kathy Whitmire, CEO of Transformation Health Partners, Hunter Nostrant, CEO of Helen Newberry Joy Hospital in Michigan, and Rena Salamacha, CEO of Mee Memorial Hospital in California.
“Giving people that team concept, having strength and understanding of their teammates really gives a super-solid foundation for success.”
We’re also talking about rural health leadership innovations. Rural health is known for innovation, and our conversation today is on the top 5 rural health leadership innovations. Those innovations include:
Check out these rural health leadership innovations and let us know what you think!
This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio we’re having a special conversation in recognition of Veterans Day by talking about military service and its connection to rural health. We’re having that conversation with Bill Sexton, past president of the National Rural Health Association and retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel.
"As we would say in the military, boots on the ground to understand the true needs of our rural community."
~Colonel Bill Sexton
After leaving the military, Bill served in leadership positions in rural hospitals, most recently as the Chief Executive Officer at Crossing Rivers Health in Wisconsin. He is a board-certified Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, as well as having a Master’s in Healthcare Administration from the University of Minnesota and an MBA from Southern Illinois University.
"Leadership is a vision that transcends the present with the ability to inspire commitment and a plan that sets expectations and monitors progress."
~Colonel Bill Sexton
Bill served as the President of the National Rural Health Association in 2006, and continues to serve as the chair of its subsidiary, Services Corporation. Bill grew up in a rural community in Illinois, and felt that rural healthcare needed strong leadership. He also works extensively to improve healthcare quality and access for veterans in rural areas.
We’re talking about the bridge between rural and public health with Michael Meit, co-director of the NORC Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis.
“I am just blown away by our youth in our rural communities. They give me hope for the future. They excite me. They are out future leaders.”
Michael serves as the Senior Fellow in the NORC at the University of Chicago Public Health Research Department as well as serving in his co-director position. He has spent over twenty years working to bridge research in the fields of rural health and public health, conducting extensive research through mixed-methods approaches. Michael hopes to create a better understanding of health disparities through this research.
“Rather than focusing so much on rural challenges, I think we really need to tell the positive story about what is good and strong about Rural America.”
Michael recently led studies covering rural food security issues in youths, rural disparities in overdose mortality, along with how strengths and assets can be leveraged to improve rural health equity. Before his role at the NORC, Michael worked in public health academia as the director of the University Of Pittsburgh Center for Rural Health Practice. Michael is also on the editorial and advisory boards for Public Health Reports, the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, and the Journal of Appalachian Health.
We’re having a conversation about health disparities in rural health with Romae Morgan, recent graduate from the University of Florida.
“I think the most forward step in rural communities and rural health is that the communities are moving forward.”
Romae grew up in Kingston, Jamaica and currently lives in South Florida with her family. After moving to Florida, she experienced quality health care, sparking her interest in the field. She began to grow her interest through volunteer work, eventually working her way to developing an independent study on childhood obesity. She chose to focus on rural health because she saw the disproportionate risk for illness that rural individuals face.
“Community involvement and engagement, and overall community support, is on the rise and increasing.”
After graduating from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutritional Sciences, she started her Master’s in Public Health degree at UF this past Fall. Romae grew her passion for community work and mental health during her undergraduate career, and participated in multiple organizations to continually grow her leadership skills. She enjoys engaging with the community, spending time with friends and family, and exercising.
We’re taking about healthcare management with Randy McKinney, Rural Health Clinic Administrator at Bienville Family Clinic.
“In these times, we have got to work together to get things done for the betterment of our community and for the health of our people.”
Randy is the Administrator at Bienville Family Clinic in Arcadia, Louisiana. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Dallas Baptist University as well as a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of North Texas and a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Grambling State University.
“If we’re to get something of value accomplished for those that we serve…collaboration is what it will all be about for today and for the future.”
Randy became a licensed nursing facility administrator in 1994, and started his journey at the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospital’s Bureau of Primary Care and Rural Health as a Practice Management Consultant. He then came to Bienville Family Clinic, where he has dedicated over 25 years to management and healthcare.
This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio we’re talking about medical anthropology in healthcare. We’re having that conversation with Dr. Matthew Dalstrom, professor at Saint Anthony College of Nursing.
“If we’re able to get them out into the community, we’re able to build this personal connection and empathy with patients that will improve overall patient care.”
~Dr. Matthew Dalstrom
Dr. Dalstrom teaches public health and mentors graduate nursing students at Saint Anthony College of Nursing, through community-based and qualitative methods. His research focuses on anthropological and public health perspectives to determine how health policy and social determinants of health influence health-seeking behaviors, access to care, and health outcomes.
“It’s more than being culturally competent…it’s learning how to interact with individuals and the way that you’re able to do that is it’s very simplistic. It’s by talking to them.”
~Dr. Matthew Dalstrom
Dr. Dalstrom also collaborates with health systems, local government organizations, and academic institutions on health promotion and interventions. He also works to ensure that his students understand how to build connections and work collaboratively within their community.
On Rural Health Leadership Radio, we’re talking about local and global rural health. We’re having that conversation with Kacie Hoyle Denton, a medical student at East Tennessee University.
“Continue to connect with members in the community. Form relationships with people. Learn from their perspectives so that you can best learn how to serve others and thereby leading them.”
~Kacie Hoyle Denton
Kacie, who has already received her MPH, is a fourth-year medical student in the Quillen College of Medicine. She previously graduated from Carson-Newman University with a BS in biochemistry as well as a BA in biology with honors. Having grown up in rural Appalachia, she has an interest in rural health and hopes to practice pediatric medicine in rural areas.
“Awareness is crucial and as awareness continues, that is really going to affect how rural health changes in the future.”
~Kacie Hoyle Denton
Kacie is currently part of the rural primary care track and engages in various communities, helping in the medical field. Kacie also has a passion for the extension of rural health globally, having served in Belize and South Africa. She has worked on multiple research projects focused on rural health in Tennessee and Belize. Kacie’s interests also include global health, gastroenterology, and rural medicine.
Our topic is leadership and innovation in rural hospitals with Dr. Maria Ryan, CEO of Cottage Hospital in Woodsville, New Hampshire.
“Create a vision, a realistic vision, and work towards it. Talk about it, because other people may be thinking about it, too.”
~Dr. Maria Ryan
Dr. Maria Ryan worked in a variety of settings including for-profit, non-profit, and tertiary care and started her career in healthcare as a CNA. She later became a nurse practitioner where she developed both her clinical and leadership skills. Dr. Ryan would continue to become the Director of an Emergency Department, the Chief Nursing Officer, Chief Operating Officer and finally the Chief Executive Officer. She brings a high-integrity, energetic form of leadership as well as the ability to envision and create successful outcomes in the face of complex obstacles.
“We have to work through others, we have to allow them to be experts in their field but also, we have to work through them to gain whatever it is we want to accomplish.”
~Dr. Maria Ryan
Dr. Ryan has brought many accomplishments to Cottage Hospital including HealthStrong Award for Excellence in Efficiency, HealthStrong Top 100 Critical Access Hospital by iVantage Health Analytics, a Top 20 Critical Access Hospital - Best Practices in Quality designation by the National Rural Health Association and the 2015 Business of the Year Award from the Cohase Chamber of Commerce. Dr. Ryan has been recognized by multiple organizations for her achievement in healthcare and business, including Becker’s Healthcare Review, NH Business Magazine, and NH Business Review.
On Rural Health Leadership Radio, we’re having a conversation about rural and community health in West Virginia. We’re having that conversation with Dr. Quintin Brubaker, the resident physician in Family Medicine at West Virginia University.
“If we can just cooperate a little better, the stuff we need to provide good care to every American might already be available to us.”
~Dr. Quintin Brubaker
Quintin Brubaker grew up in Virginia, where he majored in History at the University of Virginia. After receiving his bachelor’s degree, he worked as an EMT and raft guide while also completing pre-med courses. Dr. Brubaker participated in the Rural Track, Rural Health Interest Group, the Rural Education Alliance for Community Health, and the Family Medicine Rural Scholars Recruitment initiative while in medical school at West Virginia University.
“We could learn a lot from other healthcare systems to create our own solutions, drawing from a broader basket of ideas.”
~Dr. Quintin Brubaker
Dr. Brubaker received the NRHA Student Leadership Award in May, and continues to grow his knowledge in healthcare. After completing his residency, Dr. Brubaker plans to continue practicing in West Virginia, with support from the West Virginia Institute for Community and Rural Health.
We’re talking about the impact of rural community health centers in Florida with Andy Behrman, the President and CEO, and Ben Browning, Vice President, of the Florida Association of Community Health Centers, Inc.
“I know that we have a chance to make sure that at the end of the day, access to care in rural America is not going to go away.”
Andy Behrman has been in healthcare in Florida for 45 years, working in multiple areas within the industry. He was the first AHEC center director in the State of Florida before starting at the Florida Association of Community Health Centers. Ben Browning has been working with Andy for almost 10 years now, where they work together to expand community health centers and improve access for patients across Florida.
“The increased focus and the strengthened interest in rural communities excites me and I’m hoping it continues its push forward.”
Andy and Ben have recently been working to address issues stemming from the 340-B program. While the program provides opportunities to save money to reinvest into patients, many organizations have taken advantage of this program. Ben and Andy are both working to bring these issues to the forefront, working with legislators and the Agency for Health Care Administration to address these obstacles.
Rural Health Leadership Radio is having a conversation about rural broadband service and economic development. We’re having that conversation with Dr. Brian Whitacre, professor and extension economist in the Agricultural Economics Department at Oklahoma State University.
“I think it’s great to have that kind of a support system and I think there’s a lot of really good people working this area that are going to put a positive impact on rural in general.”
Dr. Whitacre helps rural areas identify what they can do to improve their economic situation, which often revolves around health. Dr. Whitacre works in the general area of rural economic development, while also teaching an undergraduate course on the topic and working with small communities across Oklahoma to help improve their quality of life.
“We want our rural facilities to have good broadband access available to them. So talk to local providers, talk to the local healthcare institutions about their connectivity needs and let’s find a way.”
The majority of Dr. Whitacre’s recent work and research has focused on broadband and healthcare connectivity gaps in hospital and private care practices in rural areas. He has also conducted studies on the relationship between housing values and broadband, and continues to explore the significance and uses for broadband in rural healthcare. A link to the article discussed in this episode can also be found here.
We’re having a conversation about the work being done at Stone Mountain Health Services, recognizes as an Outstanding Rural Health Organization by the NRHA. We’re having that conversation with Jim Werth, Director of the Black Lung Program at Stone Mountain Health Services.
“I understood the folks and appreciated the values and opportunities that rural life has.”
Jim Werth received his PhD in Counseling Psychology from Auburn University, as well as his Master of Legal Studies from the University of Nebraska. He is currently the Behavioral Health and Wellness Service Director in addition to serving as the Director of the Black Lung Program at Stone Mountain Health Services.
“We need to look at our experiences and values as we continue to move forward, and not just focus on diseases of despair.”
Previously, Jim spent years doing health-related policy work in Oregon after moving on to become an assistant professor at the University of Akron. Jim then became the director of the PsyD program at Radford University, focusing on rural mental health. He would then come to his current position at Stone Mountain Health Services, where he works to provide training for those working on the frontlines. Jim is also becoming the CEO of another community health center in Virginia.