With that awareness gap in mind, the National Rural Healthcare Association formed the Rural Health Foundation in September with $110,000 in seed money that was donated by individuals, with some help from NRHA. As the foundation evolves in the coming months and years, it will provide funding for scholarships, seminars, and other training opportunities for rural healthcare providers and administrators to give them the know-how to adapt national healthcare policy into rural settings.
"The foundation will generate funds that can help in what I would call the continuous training and education for leaders at the local level in rural America who are helping to manage the transition in healthcare delivery and finance," says Mueller, who is a co-chairman of the foundation.
The foundation will address such questions as "How do we adapt to those changes when the scale of the system is somewhat different? Instead of a 600-bed hospital, you are talking about anything from six inpatient beds to maybe into the lower hundreds of beds. How do you take an insurance plan payment change that is based on what they have learned from large hospitals and adapt that to the small hospital?" he says.