Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Rural Matters

May 14, 2021

In Part II of a four-part series on rural hospitals, produced in collaboration with and underwritten by the Center for Optimizing Rural Health (CORH), Michelle chats with Dr. Nancy Dickey, CORH’s executive director and Adam Willmann, CEO & President of the Goodall-Witcher Healthcare System in Clifton, Texas. Each year, Dickey notes, CORH selects 30 hospitals for the HRSA-funded Vulnerable Rural Hospital Assistance Program. Those chosen for the free program, whose application periods this year begins June 1, will have access to CORH’s team of rural health experts and receive technical support. Willmann’s hospital participated in the third year of the program, and he noted that the ability to connect with and learn from other hospitals was a major benefit to his institution. (To learn more and apply to the program, visit optimizing-rural-health-dot-org and click application portal.) Willmann has been instrumental in establishing the Rural Texas Health Cooperative with nine other rural hospitals, expanding surgical and psychiatry services and increasing net patient revenue by 164% since 2013. Formerly a 501(c) (3) institution, Goodall-Witcher is now a critical care hospital with nine physicians serving about 24,000 local residents, and is the largest employer in the county, according to Willmann. His hospital and wellness center have been built by finding local health care providers and securing the latest medical equipment, such as scopes for colonoscopies, which, in turn, can attract top surgeons. One of the challenges facing rural hospitals, Dickey says, is that very successful leaders such as Willmann can be sought after by other hospitals, and CORH is working hard to establish depth in hospital leadership. In addition, Willmann says there has been a significant expansion of telehealth services during the pandemic, in part because of the lessening of restrictions, but the pandemic accentuated the lack of broadband capability in rural areas. This episode and the entire four-part series is sponsored by CORH,