Hospitals In Focus

Protecting Access to Care in Rural America with Brock Slabach

In this episode: 

  • We’ll discuss the major stresses and challenges facing rural hospitals, including geography, patient mix, a growing workforce crisis, and funding shortfalls.   
  • Since 2010, 140 rural hospitals have closed, including 25 since the start of the pandemic. Congressional support helped keep that number from being even higher, but what happens now as COVID-19 relief runs out? What’s the impact on a small, rural community when a hospital closes? 
  • Congress needs to take actions to preserve funding for rural hospitals during Lame Duck session. What will be the impact on access to care if Medicare Dependent Hospital and Low-Volume Hospital programs aren’t extended and lawmakers don’t waive PAYGO? 
  • How will divided government affect rural hospital policy moving forward in 2023? Is there room for bipartisan compromise?  

Guest: Brock Slabach, Chief Operating Officer, National Rural Health Association. 

As we celebrate to Rural Hospital Week 2022, Chip speaks with Brock, who spent a large part of his career as a small town hospital administrator, about how Congress can provide a lifeline to providers in small communities and protect access to care for millions of Americans. 


Brock Slabach joined NRHA staff in 2008. He has administrative responsibility for all areas of member services, including membership, communications, and meetings/exhibitions.He was a rural hospital administrator for more than 21 years and has served on the board of the National Rural Health Association and the regional policy board of the American Hospital Association.Brock specializes in rural health system development that encompasses population health and the varied payment programs moving rural providers into value based purchasing models. He’s a member of the National Quality Forum’s Measures Application Partnership (MAP) Hospital and Rural Health Workgroup and serves on the Board of Directors of Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHC).Brock is the 2015 recipient of the Calico Quality Leadership Award of the National Rural Health Resource Center and received the American Society of Healthcare Pharmacists (ASHP) Board of Directors’ Award of Honor for 2018.Brock earned a master of public health degree in health administration from the University of Oklahoma and is a fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives.

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