On Wednesday September 26, 2012, the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services will conduct a day-long public meeting in Austin at the Radisson Hotel & Suites, located downtown at 111 E. Cesar Chavez Street. The meeting will begin at 9:00am with a welcome by the Committee Chair, former Mississippi Governor Ronnie Musrove, and followed up with a Health and Human Services update by the CMS Regional VI Director Majorie McColl Petty. Linda Jones, the Texas State Office of Rural Health Director, will conclude the update session with an overview of the transfer of Texas’ rural health agency to the Texas Department of Agriculture’s Office of Rural Affairs. Download the agenda here.
Beginning at 10:00am will be the start of a series of Infrastructure Panels lasting though the day that will cover healthcare concerns, rural workforce and workforce opportunities. At 4:00pm, the committee will conduct an open discussion of the issues presented and conclude the day with an overview of the next day’s site visits to Llano, Lulling and Bastrop by selected committee members who will take community public comments in those rural towns.
On Thursday September 27, health care issues addressed by the general public (this is the time for nearby local RHC staff to attend and make public comments on their access issues that will be accepted by the committee site visit meetings at the Scott and White hospital in Llano and also at the Seton Edgar B. Davis hospital in Lulling. Public workforce issues will be accepted by a committee in Bastrop at the Workforce Solutions’ office of Bastrop County. In the afternoon the community site visit committee members will reconvene in Austin at 4:00pm to discuss and begin drafting their comments on rural health infrastructure, hospitals, and rural workforce ideas.
On Friday morning, September 28, the committee will continue going over their subcommittee notes and drafting the outline of their White Papers; and at 9:30am they will review their findings and highlight their subcommittee key points and timelines. Their business will be concluded during a meeting at 10:00am with a call for any public comment at 10:30am, after which they will adjourn their official visit to Texas.
The National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services is a 21-member citizens panel of nationally recognized rural health experts that provides recommendations on rural issues to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.
The committee was chartered in 1987 to advise the Secretary of Health and Human Services on ways to address health care problems in rural America. Each year the Committee selects one or more topics upon which to focus during the year. The Committee then produces a report with recommendations on that issue for the Secretary by the end of the year. In addition to the report, the Committee may also produce white papers on select policy issues.
The Committee meets three times a year. The first meeting is held during the winter months in Washington. The Committee then meets twice in the field (in June and September). The field visits include ongoing work on the yearly topics with some time devoted to site visits and presentations by the host community. I have been in contact with Nathan Nash, a Truman-Albright Fellow at the Office of Rural Health Policy, who has asked that Texas Rural Health Clinics participate in the community site visits on Thursday September 27, and are invited to appear before the subcommittee panels in Llano and Lulling. That day in Austin the Committee will break up into subcommittees of approximately 6 – 8 members, then each subcommittee will travel to a rural hospital, one to Scott& White’s hospital in Llano and the other to Seton’s Edgar B. Davis Hospital in Lulling. At each site, the Committee will engage in a constructive dialogue with two panels of administrators in rural health care; one in the morning (about 10 am –noon) and the one in the afternoon (about 1-3 pm). Each panel generally lasts 1:5 – 2 hours and consists of 4 – 5 administrators from the area discussing the innovations and challenges they have experienced in rural health care and offering an on-the-ground perspective to the ideas being considered by the Committee. At this session, the Committee will be focusing on coordination across the continuum of care and integrated care networks as well as the traditional distinction between hospital and clinic, and the services they can provide. After the site visits, the subcommittee will return to Austin and start outlining the recommendations they want to make to the Secretary on these issues.
Nathan is looking for voluntary participation from RHCs near Llano: Brady Medical Clinic, Brady; Junction Medical Clinic, Junction; Family Medicine Rural Health Clinic, PA, Lampasas; Scott & White Hoerster Clinic–San Saba, San Saba; Scott & White Hoerster Clinic, Kingsland; Scott & White Hoerster Clinic, Horseshoe Bay; Scott & White Hoerster Clinic, Marble Falls; Seton Burnet Healthcare Center, Burnet; and Seton Lampasas Health Center; Lampasas. He is looking for panel volunteers from these RHCs near the Lulling area: Sievers Medical Clinic, Gonzales; Waelder Medical Clinic, Waelder; Wagner Medical Clinic , Shiner; Moulton Health Clinic, Moulton; Four Oaks Medical Clinic , Columbus; Seton Lockhart Family Health Center RHC /Children’s Care-a-Van RHC, Lockhart; Yoakum Family Practice, Yoakum; Cuero Medical Clinic, Cuero; Parkside Family Health Clinic, Cuero; and Bohman Clinic, Cuero.
If you or someone in your RHC is interested in visiting the subcommittee panel programs on Thursday September 27 (morning or afternoon) and would consider making comments about your clinic’s access to care or other issues you want to address, contact Nathan Nash to get more info. His direct phone is (301) 443-4043 or via email.