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Rural Matters

Mar 24, 2022

In Part III of this series, Life in Rural America — 2022 and Beyond —

produced in collaboration with and underwritten by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Michelle chats with Ge Bai, Professor of Accounting at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School and Professor of Health Policy & Management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; Keith Mueller, Gerhard Hartman Professor in Health Management and Policy, University of Iowa and Director of the Rural Policy Research Institute and its Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis; and Sally Buck, CEO of the National Rural Health Resource Center. Ge discusses the recent financial challenges and most important issues facing rural hospitals today, such as low occupancy rate. Mueller talks about how rural hospitals can retain the brand of the “blue H” while no longer being dependent on the volumes of inpatient care for their identity. He notes that certain hospitals have been able to achieve “turnarounds” through a variety of measures, including developing a mix of services, collaborating with other institutions in the community and, for new CEOs, totally immersing themselves in the community and meeting their population’s health needs. Buck points out the attributes and best practices that make certain CAHs more financially viable than others, the burnout and turnover conundrum, and how federal programs can improve the financial and quality performance of hospitals in rural communities. This episode and the entire six-part series is sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the nation’s largest philanthropy dedicated solely to health. For more information, visit or @rwjf on Twitter.