Research / Rural Development
Other | December 2019
As the 2020 legislative cycle approaches, legislators across the South are preparing and pre-filing legislation to address emerging and relevant policy issues in their states. With its regional focus, the Southern Legislative Conference (SLC) is uniquely positioned to identify and research current and emerging policy issues and trends. This report was prepared by Anne Roberts Brody, policy and program manager, and Roger Moore and Cody Allen, policy analysts, and provides a sampling of issues and trends that are anticipated to emerge during the 2020 legislative term. State actions referenced in this report may represent appropriate policy options for Southern lawmakers to consider and, as such, may include bills or policies originating outside the SLC region.
Policy Analysis | November 2019
Rural hospitals have struggled to remain solvent in recent years. Since January 2010, 81 rural hospitals have closed in the SLC region. State and federal policy makers are working to mitigate this trend and promote the work of rural hospitals.* At the federal level, the recently introduced Rural Health Agenda offers potential assistance for rural hospitals and residents.
On July 31, 2019, U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn (TN) introduced the Rural Health Agenda in the Senate to support the provision of rural healthcare. The agenda includes the Rural America Health Corps Act, Telehealth Across State Lines Act of 2019 and Rural Health Innovation Act of 2019. The three bills were each read twice and referred to the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
On October 29, 2019, U.S. Representative Phil Roe (TN) introduced companion bills for the Rural America Health Corps Act and Telehealth Across State Lines Act of 2019 in the House of Representatives. Both bills were referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee; the latter was also referred to the Ways and Means Committee. That same day, U.S. Representative David Kustoff (TN) introduced a companion bill for the Rural Health Innovation Act of 2019, which was referred to the Energy and Commerce Committee.
The information provided is a summary of the three bills comprising the Rural Health Agenda. As the bills are in committee, they are subject to change. All information is current as of November 19, 2019.
Rural America Health Corps Act
Response for Rural Hospitals: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow:
"I suspect many legislators, including myself, avoid healthcare issues because of their complexity. This research makes it feel more manageable. Wow, just wow! That was an amazing undertaking on the part of the SLC. Thanks for your hard work."
SLC Regional Resource | November 2019
With decreasing rural populations and changing federal regulations, many rural hospitals have struggled to maintain financial viability in recent years. In 2017, 6,210 total hospitals operated in the United States; 2,250, of these are rural hospitals. Nationally, 113 rural hospitals have closed since January 2010. Furthermore, the rate of rural hospital closures from 2013 to 2017 was twice as high as the rate of the previous five years. In January 2010, SLC member states had approximately 831 rural hospitals. Since then, 81 rural hospitals (9.7 percent) in the South have closed.
This SLC Regional Resource examines the unique circumstances facing rural hospitals and communities today, including healthcare regulations and recent federal actions aimed at directing greater financial support toward rural healthcare providers, followed by a review of legislation adopted in the 15 SLC member states addressing rural health, rural hospitals and their challenges.
SLC Agriculture & Rural Development Committee
Daniel B. Verdin III
Policy and Program Manager
Originally formed in 1961, the SLC Agriculture & Rural Development Committee’s agenda focuses on issues critical to the future of farming and farm communities, such as the distribution of water and other natural resources – critical for the agricultural sector – and new opportunities for the export of agricultural commodities to international markets. Several reports prepared by the committee have measured the economic impact of agricultural sector, often considered the “engine of the economy” in most Southern states. The committee's work also centers on the continued development of rural communities, highlighting access to healthcare and transportation; integration with the global economy; the many differences and surprising similarities between rural and urban America; and how to begin to bridge the infrastructure challenges that divide these communities.
More SLC Research into Rural Development
Policy Analysis | April 2019
Other | January 2019
Policy Analysis | May 2018
SLC Special Series Report | May 2017
SLC Regional Resource | April 2016
Webinar | June 2015
Policy Analysis | February 2014
SLC Regional Resource | January 2009
Policy Analysis | November 2008
SLC Regional Resource | January 2006
Presentation | August 2005
SLC Regional Resource | July 2005
SLC Regional Resource | December 2003
SLC Regional Resource | October 2003