Policy Focus

Introduction

Rural Health Association of Tennessee (RHA of TN) defines key issues relative to the health and well-being of rural Tennesseans. The list is limited but focused to assist in prioritizing needs. Members of RHA of TN can be a valuable assets in addressing the needs through support and involvement in the association and its advocacy.

Focus Areas

  1. Substance Abuse (Alcohol, Tobacco and Illicit Drugs)
  2. Rural Access to Health Care
  3. Special Populations
  4. Mental/Behavioral Health
  5. Health Professions Education
  6. Health Promotion/Disease Prevention
  7. Oral Health
  8. Rural Emergency Preparedness
  9. Social Determinants of Health

Click for more on each of these focus areas

 2020 Advocacy

Tennessee Voices Louder.

In February 2020, the RHA of TN acted as the state contact for the National Rural Health Association Policy Institute in Washington, DC. Attendees from TN spoke with legislators on the following issues:

Access to quality health care for rural Americans
Several pieces of legislation have been introduced to combat the rural hospital closure crisis. The Rural Hospital Closure Relief Act (H.R. 5481/S. 3103) and The Save Rural Hospitals Act (Rep. Loebsack) were among bills discussed.
 
Robust funding for the rural health care safety net
Some ideas conveyed to legislators were the need to defend the 340B program for rural providers and the need for increasing rural health clinics’ capitated payment rate to help sustain these critical rural safety net providers as they treat new populations under health care reform. 
 
Gaining more rural health champions in Congress   
RHA of TN urged members of Congress from Tennessee to join the Senate Rural Health Caucus and the House Rural Health Coalition. Each has passed significant legislation improving the lives of 62 million rural Americans.

The RHA of TN Annual Hill Day for 2020 was held on February 26th in Nashville TN. This year’s event was a success with around 30 attendees meeting with 11 legislators to discuss legislation that will improve rural health in Tennessee such as:

(SB1892/HB1699) sponsored by Sen. Art Swann and Rep. Robin Smith which would increase telehealth coverage by insurance providers.

(SB2079/HB2114) sponsored by Sen. Shane Reeves and House Chairman Robin Smith that would help to limit teen and young adult access to vaping and e-cigarettes.

(SB2249/HB2755) sponsored by Sen. Katrina Robinson and Rep. John J. DeBerry requiring the BEP to fund one full-time public-school nurse position for each school in an LEA. The RHA of TN supports the increased access school nurses in our K-12 education system.

(SB2076/HB1870) sponsored by Sen. Mark Pody and Rep. Lowell Russell. This bill clarifies that the present law requiring motorcyclists to wear a helmet applies to drivers of autocycles that are not fully enclosed.