TORONTO, May 12, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Department of Health Secretary Dr. Karen Murphy spoke at the Rural and Northern Health Care Leadership Conference held in Toronto, Canada, highlighting Pennsylvania's innovative use of cutting-edge technology to reach medically underserved rural residents.
"Ensuring that rural Pennsylvanians have access to high-quality medical services is a key focus of the Pennsylvania Governor Wolf's administration," said Secretary Murphy. "Our state's rural hospitals, like those across North America, face great challenges that demand innovation and collaboration. In Pennsylvania, we are working to ensure that our three million residents living in rural areas have access to quality health care."
The annual Rural and Northern Health Care Leadership Conference examines the most significant issues and emerging trends impacting the health care field and its leaders in both small and large institutions. The event is sponsored by the Ontario Hospital Association.
Every year, doctors and healthcare professionals from around the world gather together at this conference to learn from experts across Canada and beyond about how to manage the intricacies of health care in small, rural, and northern communities.
Pennsylvania's rural hospitals, which provide access to care for 1.8 million Pennsylvanians, illustrate the economic challenges of providing rural health. Nearly half of the commonwealth's rural hospitals face negative operating margins. Overall, rural hospitals have dealt with declining margins every year since 2011.
The Wolf Administration has created a plan to transform rural health across Pennsylvania. Earlier this year, Pennsylvania submitted this plan to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation to implement a Rural Health Transformation Initiative. The federal government reviewed the proposal and announced that they would award Pennsylvania a grant to put this model into place.
This new rural health model will improve population health and quality of care that is delivered locally. It will also enable rural hospitals to move toward greater financial sustainability through an all-payer global budget model.
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Health