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University of Iowa News Release


July 9, 2010

Summary serves as 'roadmap' for rural health care reform provisions

Rural health care advocates, policymakers and researchers looking to make sense of the 900-plus-page health care reform legislation can access a new, comprehensive summary of the provisions that pertain to rural residents and the delivery of health care services in rural areas.

The summary, titled "The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: A Summary of Provisions Important to Rural Health Care Delivery," is available online at

muellerThe summary was authored by Keith Mueller, Ph.D., director of the Rural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI) Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis and head of the Department of Health Management and Policy, based in the University of Iowa College of Public Health. Mueller and the RUPRI Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis joined the UI in May 2010.

"This document creates a 'rural roadmap' for advocates, analysts, practitioners and policymakers as they continue the important task of improving the system as it affects rural interests," Mueller said. "During the legislative process, rural-conscious members of Congress succeeded in inserting provisions specific to rural needs, such as extending special payment policies in Medicare, extending and modifying the Rural Hospital Flexibility Program, and including rural areas in various demonstration projects and pilot programs. Their efforts are evident in this summary."

Beyond specific rural-centric provisions, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act includes provisions that have the potential to impact rural residents, such as new pathways to insurance coverage, additional efforts in public health and new directions in payment policies.

The RUPRI summary organizes sections of the legislation into specific categories, including access to affordable insurance, insurance market reforms, quality improvement, public health, health care workforce, Medicaid and Medicare and overall system changes.

The sections are arranged into tables that detail each provision, its rural relevance and its effective date. The summary's electronic format allows readers to easily navigate to the details of a specific section of the legislation.

"We hope this document provides a summary that will be useful to policy staff, rural providers and communities, and advocates for rural health," Mueller said.

STORY SOURCE: The University of Iowa College of Public Health Office of Communications and External Relations, 4257 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242

MEDIA CONTACT: Hannah Fletcher, 319-384-4277,

PHOTOS/CAPTIONS: Photos of Keith Mueller can be found at: For a high-resolution photo, please contact Hannah Fletcher at 319-384-4277.