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FOR RELEASE: October 3, 2000
CONTACT: Dick Gunn

Rural Health Conference Focuses on Building Partnerships

Oklahoma's health care professionals will have an opportunity to focus on rural health issues – including how to decrease obstacles to health care – at a conference in Oklahoma City next week. The conference, Oct. 11-13 at the Clarion Hotel and Conference Center in Oklahoma City, is sponsored by the Rural Health Association of Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health's Office of Rural Health is providing technical assistance for the conference through research, surveys, data analyses and strategic health planning.

“The conference theme Building Partnerships in Rural Communities stresses the importance of community involvement to the success of the health care delivery system and its ability to address issues like funding mechanisms, access, and transportation,” said Rick Ernest, president, Rural Health Association of Oklahoma.

Some of the keynote speakers and guests for the conference include: U.S. House of Representatives, Oklahoma 6th Congressional District Congressman Frank D. Lucas; U.S. House of Representatives, Oklahoma 3rd Congressional District Congressman Wes Watkins; Lieutenant Governor Mary Fallin; Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives Loyd Benson; Cabinet Secretary of Health and Human Services Jerry Regier; and Commissioner and Secretary of Agriculture, Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Dennis Howard.

Conference objectives include:

  • promoting community based partnerships;
  • career opportunities in the health care sector in rural Oklahoma;
  • highlighting the importance of community involvement, planning, and education as a vital component in retaining and obtaining access to health care;
  • providing information and training in the area of crisis response and rural traffic safety;
  • addressing the impact of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 and other legislation affecting hospitals, rural health clinics, home health, EMS and access to health care for rural Oklahomans; and
  • increasing awareness of available resources.

Some of the workshop topics include: Medicare/Medicaid Reimbursement, Community Resource Development, Weather Safety, Progress of Critical Access Hospitals, Pharmacy Package for Seniors, Health Career Exploration in Southeast Oklahoma, Agricultural Trauma, Impact of the Health Care Sector, EMS Response in Rural Communities, Balanced Budget Act and its Redesign, Tele-Medicine in Oklahoma, Rural Transportation Systems, and How to Conduct a Vehicle Occupant Safety Campaign.

Other topics include: The Prospective Payment System and Rural Hospitals, Expanding Access to Services for Native Americans, Four Family Practice Residencies, Insurance Coding and Reimbursement, Parish Nursing, HPPA and expanding DRGs, Migrant Health Services, Physician Manpower Training Commission Program Overview and Rural Workforce Opportunities.

The Rural Health Association of Oklahoma is partnering with the Area Health Education Centers to provide scholarships to students interested in health care careers in rural Oklahoma. Call Diane Bowers at 405/271-8750 to obtain an application.

Registration for the conference is $125 per person and $50 per student. For information about the conference or to register call 405/271-8750.


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