Rural Health Services

Some 57 million rural Americans depend on their hospital as an important source of care as well as a critical component of their area's economic and social fabric.

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AHA ensures the unique needs of our members are a national priority. Location, size, workforce, payment and access to capital challenge small or rural hospitals and the communities they serve. Collaborating with state and regional hospital associations and with advice from its member council, the Section tracks the issues, develops policies and identifies solutions to our most pressing problems. We do this through:

  • Representation and advocacy in Washington, DC
  • Communication and education
  • Executive leadership and technical assistance
  • Innovation in payment and delivery

2024 Rural Advocacy Agenda


Telling the Hospital Story: Rural Hospitals in Action

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Infographic: Rural Hospitals: Community Cornerstones Facing Perilous Threats to Care

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Rural Health Resources

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Advocacy and Policy

The American Hospital Association has made improving access to rural health a top priority. Our advocacy agenda for lawmakers and policy recommendations to government agencies lay the groundwork for needed change to improve the system for patients. Click here for regulatory advisories, comment letters, fact sheets and our agendas.

Tools and Education

Education and Communications

The American Hospital Association has a wealth of media and educational resources available to rural hospitals and health systems. Click here for reports, newsletters, podcasts, webinars, and more.

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Tools and Resources

NEW: Rural Health Services Resources and References
The American Hospital Association is proud to feature the success stories of its members. Read a variety of case studies highlighting best practices, innovative techniques and new ideas from the field.

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A curated library of grants, tools and other resources from AHA and others available to rural providers. Click here to see the collection.

Ready to Care: Celebrating Rural Hospitals and Health Systems 

AHA Statement Before the Committee on Ways and Means of the U.S. House of Representatives

Statement of the AHA for the Committee on Ways and Means of the U.S. House of Representatives “Access to Health Care in America: Ensuring Resilient Emergency Medical Care” page 1.

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Rural Hospital Closures Threaten Access: Solutions to Preserve Care in Local Communities

New Rural Health Services Resources and References
New Resources and Services Cover

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Learn More About the Rural Advisory Groups


Rural Advocacy Agenda 2024

Rural hospitals and health systems are committed to ensuring local access to high-quality, affordable health care. However, these hospitals continue to experience ongoing challenges that jeopardize their ability to provide local access to care and essential services. These include conti...

Rural Health Update Newsletters

AHA Rural Health Update is a compilation of news from the AHA and its Rural Health Services team. Update provides constituents with a synopsis of breaking news on key issues targeted to rural providers.This monthly newsletter covers current rural advocacy priorities for legislation, rul...

Rural Hospital Leadership Team Award

The application period for the 2024 Rural Hospital Leadership Team Award is open. The Award, from the AHA Rural Health Services honors the leadership team who have guided their hospital and community through transformational change on the road to health care innovation. The team will ha...