March 18-20: Health reform in rural communities


SPOKANE, Wash. – The Northwest’s largest gathering on rural health will take place in two conferences March 18-20, drawing health professionals from Alaska, Montana, Oregon, Idaho and Washington.

Building on the theme, “Health Care Reform and Rural Communities: Finding the Right Fit,” experts and community leaders will present innovations and strategies in patient care, workforce retention, technical solutions and policy development.

Registration is required; register online at For details, keynote topics and featured speakers of both conferences, see For a brochure with information for both conferences, contact the Area Health Education Center of Eastern Washington, WSU Extension, at 509-358-7640 or

Focus on critical access hospitals

The one-day 12th annual Northwest Regional Critical Access Hospital Conference will be Tuesday, March 18. It is designed for critical access hospital (CAH) administrators, staff, clinicians and board members.

Conference registration costs $75.

CAH attendees will learn, share, plan and maximize opportunities offered through the CAH designation as experts in nine breakout sessions present on quality/performance improvement, finance, CMS (Medicare/Medicaid) and more.

“Health care in rural areas is often concentrated in one hospital and a small group of clinics, offering a unique opportunity to transform health care and improve the health of rural residents,” said Kim Kelley, conference chairperson. “At this conference, we’ll see how this is happening across the Northwest.”

Making the most of reform

The 27th NW Regional Rural Health Conference, March 19-20, is designed for a wide range of rural health advocates including providers, community leaders, administrators, board members, commissioners, policy makers, public health professionals and others.

Conference fees are $125-$245.

“Participants will examine how health care reform is rolling out in the rural Northwest and share ways rural providers and communities can be best situated to take advantage of these changes,” said Susan Skillman, conference chairperson.

The conference strives to stay abreast of policy and regulation developments that impact healthcare delivery at the federal, regional, state and local levels. At the same time, it delivers content inclusive of collaborative rural models, innovative community projects, quality, healthcare information technology and other underlying themes that shape the way business is done.

Sponsors support rural health

Conference sponsors include:

Gold level: Inland Northwest Health Services; Northwest MedStar; and St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute.

Silver level: GCI Connect MD; Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center; Rural Physicians Group; Virginia Mason Team Medicine; and Washington State Hospital Association.

Bronze level: Coordinated Care; Eide Bailly LLP; Healthland; Parker Smith Feek; Rural Physicians Group; and Wipfli, LLP.



Conference Management, Area Health Education Center of Eastern Washington, WSU Extension, 509-358-7640,