“The mission of the New York State Association of Rural Health (NYSARH) is to lead and collaborate on issues affecting the health and well-being of New York’s rural residents.”
NYSARH functions as the “voice for rural health.” It is a statewide organization advocating for the health of rural New Yorkers. NYSARH advocates at the national and state levels on behalf of its membership.
Operate based on principles of collaboration, coordination, best practices, and leadership development.
Identify factors that impact and influence the health status of rural communities.
Raise public awareness of rural health issues.
Advocate for, and develop, rural health resources.
Promote communication and collaboration among health care providers, government agencies, and other organizations.
Provide information and analysis regarding the rural perspective to legislators, lawmakers, and rural health providers.
Provide meaningful educational programs and events.
Develop, organize, and sustain the organizational infrastructure of NYSARH.
The New York State Association for Rural Health Celebrates its 10th Year
The New York State Association for Rural Health (NYSARH) is a not-for-profit, non-partisan, grassroots organization working to preserve and improve the health of the citizens in rural New York State. NYSARH membership includes representatives of all facets of the rural health care industry, as well as individuals and students. On many different levels, NYSARH serves individuals, consumers, non-profit organizations, government agencies and officials, health care facilities, emergency medical service providers, long-term care organizations, businesses, universities, foundations, associations, and other stakeholders in rural health. NYSARH is celebrating its tenth year in 2011.
New York State Activities
On the state level, NYSARH conducts an annual educational event for New York State legislators and their staff. Providers of rural health care services travel to Albany to setup displays, distribute literature, and answer questions about the services they provide and the needs of the communities they serve. NYSARH enjoys a very positive relationship with the Charles D. Cook Office of Rural Health within the State Department of Health as well as with the New York State Legislative Commission on Rural Resources. NYSARH partners with other organizations advocating on behalf of rural health care providers.
In addition to representing its membership at both the national and state levels of government, NYSARH conducts an annual conference for its members. These conferences, open to NYSARH members and anyone interested in assisting meeting the health care needs of rural communities, provide information, educational support, and guidance. Expert presenters share their experiences and successes with conference participants who learn how to better serve their communities. These conferences always offer engaging and informative presentations by an elite faculty and are well-attended. At the Annual Conference we bestow Annual Awards highlighting the best in providers and health services in rural New York, recognizing outstanding individuals, programs, and services. During the course of the year, NYSARH also sponsors quality conferences aimed at identifying and sharing best practices with participants who can then return to their communities and continually increase the quality and value of the services they offer.
NYSARH continuously seeks to hear from its members regarding their most pressing community issues, what strategies members propose to address these issues, and what resources are needed to carry them out.
The NYSARH Board of Directors serves on a voluntary basis and is made up of a group of individuals committed to improving the health status of rural New Yorkers. These individuals enjoy the support of their employers in their service to NYSARH. A voluntary committee structure supports achieving the goals of the organization.
NYSARH has strong linkage to the National Rural Health Association (NRHA) and enjoys substantial support and assistance from NRHA. Working hand in hand with NRHA, NYSARH participates in an annual Policy Institute in Washington, D.C. During the Policy Institute, where representatives of rural providers across the nation gather, participants visit with their state congressional leaders to seek support on issues of national policy affecting rural health care providers. NRHA and NYSARH priorities are very much in line with each other. The needs of New York’s rural health providers very much mirror the needs of providers in other states.
With the many challenges facing providers of rural health services today, NYSARH has developed a list of priority areas that need to be addressed and for which the support of the New York State Congressional Delegation is needed. The top priorities for which NYSARH sought support in Washington for this year are as follows:
Healthcare Workforce – without an adequate number of well trained health care providers including physicians, nurses and public health professionals, needs of rural residents cannot be met. There are challenges in many workforce areas, notably the ability to recruit and retain these professionals, especially primary and specialty physicians. Rural areas cannot compete adequately with more urban areas when it comes to attracting physicians. Simply put, the supply of physicians must be substantially increased. In order to do that, the 1996 cap on the number of physicians that Medicare is willing to pay to train must be lifted and the deficit commission’s recommended cuts in training funds must be rejected. Federal loan forgiveness programs should continue.
Access – access to services in rural areas must be preserved. The New York Medicaid program has already set volume thresholds for breast cancer services that have prohibited rural hospitals from being paid for providing those services. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is considering similar thresholds for certain conditions for Medicare patients. Setting arbitrary volume thresholds that eliminate rural hospitals’ ability to be paid by Medicare for treating certain conditions will further harm access to critically needed services in rural New York and increase health disparities.
Funding – funding for the following rural health safety net programs that have proven to be cost-effective must be preserved and, if possible, enhanced:
- Continue funding the State Offices of Rural Health Program at $10.1 million, which represents level funding. State Offices of Rural Health (SORHs) have assumed leadership roles in addressing the challenges to ensure access to health care faced by rural communities. SORHs have a rich history of developing partnerships; creating, delivering, and managing programs; and providing resources and technical assistance that help meet the health care needs of rural Americans. Among other things, SORHs coordinate health-related policies and programs within their states to avoid duplication of effort; encourage the recruitment and retention of health professionals in rural areas; and develop and strengthen federal, state, and local partnerships that enhance rural health.
- Rural Hospital Flexibility Program (FLEX). The FLEX program encourages the development of community-based, rural organized systems. FLEX grants allow states to work with their Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) on performance and quality improvement, EMS integration, and networking. New York State receives $345,000 annually and has developed the NYS Critical Access Hospital Performance Improvement Network to assist CAHs in all areas of clinical, financial, and operational performance improvement. NYS has also provided funds to CAHs to work more collaboratively with their community EMS providers.
- Rural Outreach and Network Grants
- National Health Service Corps
- Public Health Training Center Grants
In addition to requesting support from New York congressional leaders, NYSARH acts as a source of information to provide data to assist with critical decision making.
If the mission and goals of NYSARH are consistent with your own, or are just attractive to you, we would be happy to have you join our organization and to help it grow. In numbers there is strength. Please help the voice for rural health to be heard, join today.
50 Orchard Drive
Big Flats NY 14814
For general information about NYSARH, contact: