The Tennessee Rural Health Care Task Force, established by Governor Bill Lee to serve rural communities across the state, has unveiled a set of recommendations aimed at enhancing health access and outcomes for rural Tennesseans. This announcement comes on the heels of a significant reduction in economically-distressed counties in Tennessee. The Task Force’s report offers evidence-based suggestions to address the unique healthcare challenges faced by rural areas, including strategies to improve access to care, train healthcare professionals, and tackle social determinants of health.
According to Governor Lee, the Task Force’s recommendations align with the administration’s mission to expand opportunities in rural Tennessee. He expressed enthusiasm for reviewing the report’s findings and identifying new avenues for the administration to enhance the well-being of individuals and families throughout the state. Tennessee Health Commissioner Ralph Alvarado also commended the Task Force’s work and emphasized the importance of partnerships in closing healthcare gaps and improving outcomes for all Tennesseans.
Task Force co-chairs, Dr. Morgan McDonald and David Dill, highlighted the comprehensive nature of the report, which resulted from a year-long collaborative effort involving 34 public and private stakeholders. The recommendations in the report aim to transform the rural healthcare landscape in Tennessee by focusing on areas such as access to care, workforce development, and social drivers of health. These evidence-based proposals offer a roadmap to improve healthcare access, provide resources to address key health outcome factors, and ensure the sustainability of healthcare professionals serving rural communities.
The Task Force’s final report encompasses policy opportunities, budget recommendations, legislative agenda items, and innovative programs. David Dill, CEO of Lifepoint Health and Task Force co-chair, believes that implementing the recommendations will advance equitable and quality healthcare, ultimately improving the health and welfare of people in Tennessee’s rural communities. The report’s findings and proposals have the potential to bring about significant positive changes in rural health access and outcomes throughout the state.