NHA and NeRHA join forces to promote “I Love Rural Health” campaign

Local4 News at 6
Published: May. 24, 2023 at 8:19 AM CDT
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KEARNEY, Neb. (KSNB) - The Nebraska Hospital Association (NHA) and the Nebraska Rural Health Association (NeRHA) are joining forces to promote a campaign highlighting the importance of rural health care in Nebraska.

I Love Rural Health” is a campaign created to amplify the voices of our rural Nebraskans through storytelling and advocacy efforts. With this campaign, the groups look to empower rural communities through conversations related to high-quality, accessible local health care.

Strong rural health equates to a strong rural Nebraska.

The challenges of providing health care in rural Nebraska are becoming increasingly more difficult. Recent changes in the rural health care system has magnified some of the traditional challenges and created new ones. Many hospitals in rural Nebraska are struggling with low or rapidly declining operating margins.

The good news is that Nebraskans, by and large, support their local hospitals and the care they provide. Based on a public poll conducted in July, 2022, 96 percent of Nebraskans told us that protecting rural hospitals is important, 86 percent approve of the quality of their health care and 72 percent of respondents support additional funding for hospitals.

“There is nothing more important for the future of rural Nebraska than protecting rural health care. Rural health care is vital to the physical, mental, and fiscal health of Nebraska,” remarked Jeremy Nordquist, President of the NHA. “Our hospitals and health care professionals who provide patient care in rural areas do it because they care about their fellow Nebraskans.”

“By combining the strengths and outreach of our two membership organizations, we can be an influential voice of rural health in our state,” said Jed Hansen, Executive Director, NeRHA.”I Love Rural Health is more than a message – it’s a movement to promote and protect the true value of rural health care in our state.”

Hansen said in total, 40 communities and 13 rural focused partnerships have already been strengthened or created through the campaign.

“We know that investments in our rural communities are an investment in our state,” said Hansen. “And we know that strong rural health equals a strong rural Nebraska.”

Over the course of the next several months, you’ll be seeing and hearing more about “I Love Rural Health” through personal stories featuring hospitals, clinics, providers and patients. In addition, the NHA and NeRHA will be working hard behind the scenes to advocate for issues that impact rural health care delivery in Nebraska.