The unique challenges facing rural providers in the COVID-19 pandemic

Rural health providers face numerous well-documented challenges in their efforts to manage population health. With unprecedented changes necessitated by the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) and resulting serious health complications from COVID-19, rural providers continue to face challenges that require carefully designed public policies. Although the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provided resources targeting rural health care providers, including an initial $10 billion to rural hospitals to offset lost revenue, $225 million to improve testing, and $150 million to help treat COVID-19 cases, we highlight unique challenges related to demographics, provider finances, and provider operations that require further attention to ensure that vulnerable rural populations continue to have access to high-quality, necessary care. Finally, we highlight 5 critical policy steps including: (1) ensuring timely flow of resources to rural health providers; (2) facilitating a network for rural providers to access necessary supplies; (3) streamlining federal and state guidance and providing additional resources for rural hospitals to manage the increased administrative burden caused by COVID-19; (4) establishing a database of stimulus funding and requirements for use; and (5) determining temporary policy changes that should be made permanent to improve rural health.

Final publication is available from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers


  • JRH Commentary final 5-7-20-1.docx

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Work Title The unique challenges facing rural providers in the COVID-19 pandemic
Open Access
  1. Joel E. Segel
  2. Hannah I. Ross
  3. Jennifer L. Edwards
  4. Kelly A. Braun
  5. Lisa A. Davis
  1. COVID-19
  2. Rural hospitals
  3. Rural health clinics
  4. Critical access hospitals
  5. Telehealth
  6. CMS policy
License In Copyright (Rights Reserved)
Work Type Article
  1. Mary Ann Liebert Inc
Publication Date June 8, 2021
Publisher Identifier (DOI)
  1. 10.1089/pop.2020.0151
  1. Population Health Management
Deposited August 24, 2022




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Work History

Version 1

  • Created
  • Added JRH Commentary final 5-7-20-1.docx
  • Added Creator Joel E. Segel
  • Added Creator Hannah I. Ross
  • Added Creator Jennifer L. Edwards
  • Added Creator Kelly A. Braun
  • Added Creator Lisa A. Davis
  • Published
  • Updated Keyword, Publication Date Show Changes
    • COVID-19, Rural hospitals, Rural health clinics, Critical access hospitals, Telehealth, CMS policy
    Publication Date
    • 2021-06-01
    • 2021-06-08