Research / Economic Development
SLC Regional Resource | April 2020
While the rate of broadband adoption continues to grow, largely in urban and suburban areas, numerous studies and surveys indicate that broadband deployment in rural areas continues to lag. Rural areas also tend to have fewer broadband providers, leading to limited options and competition for customers, as well as slower connection speeds. Meanwhile, nearly one quarter of rural adults say that access to high-speed internet is a major problem in their local community.
State laws and policies can facilitate and encourage broadband expansion in underserved rural areas. Building upon the 2016 SLC Regional Resource, The Role of State and Local Government in Broadband Deployment, this SLC Regional Resource explores funding mechanisms implemented by Southern states to encourage broadband expansion in rural, unserved and underserved areas.
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 Economic Development, Transportation & Cultural Affairs Committee
The SLC Economic Development, Transportation & Cultural Affairs Committee examines issues related to infrastructure, economic progress and cultural strengths in the Southern region. Discussions and reports of the committee have focused on Southern state actions to bring manufacturing operations of national and foreign companies to the region, as well as the importance of ports, roads and railways for the movement of manufactured goods. The committee has a long history of studying the impact of the Panama Canal expansion and international trade with Mexico, Canada and China on Southern state economies.
More SLC Research into Economic Development
Policy Analysis | September 2019
Policy Analysis | August 2018
SLC Issue Brief | January 2018
SLC Special Series Report | January 2018
SLC Special Series Report | May 2017
Policy Analysis | January 2016
SLC Regional Resource | July 2015
Policy Analysis | March 2015
Policy Analysis | March 2015
Webinar | December 2014
Policy Analysis | November 2014
Policy Analysis | October 2014
Webinar | July 2014
Presentation | May 2014
SLC Regional Resource | February 2014
SLC Regional Resource | November 2013
SLC Regional Resource | July 2013
SLC Issue Alert | May 2013
SLC Issue Alert | October 2012
Presentation | October 2012
SLC Issue Alert | September 2012
Policy Analysis | October 2011
SLC Special Series Report | August 2011
SLC Fiscal Alert | October 2010
Policy Analysis | August 2010
SLC Regional Resource | June 2010
Article | May 2009
Presentation | February 2009
Article | December 2008
Article | August 2008
Presentation | September 2007
Article | August 2007
SLC Regional Resource | June 2007
Presentation | November 2006
SLC Special Series Report | April 2006
Presentation | August 2005
SLC Regional Resource | August 2005
SLC Regional Resource | May 2004
SLC Special Series Report | November 2003
SLC Regional Resource | July 2001
SLC Special Series Report | November 2000