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University of Iowa News Release


Nov. 29, 2011

Panel releases vision of high performance rural health care

A future high performance rural health care system, incorporating principles of affordability, accessibility, community focus, high quality, and patient centeredness, could be built upon existing rural primary care services, according to a new report from a national policy research panel chaired by a University of Iowa professor.

The report, issued by the Rural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI) Health Panel, is a blueprint for local, state, and national policymakers wanting to craft legislation related to the health and well-being of rural Americans, according to Keith Mueller, Ph.D., head of the Department of Health Management and Policy in the UI College of Public Health.

"Health care systems in rural America face disadvantages that their larger, urban counterparts do not, namely disproportionally ill and disabled citizens, under-financed primary care, and geographically isolated providers," says Mueller, who directs the RUPRI Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis. "But opportunities are emerging in public policy and the private sector to change the organization, financing, and delivery of rural health care services.

"Currently, our health care system financially rewards specialty doctors and sophisticated technologies that do not exist in rural systems," Mueller continues. "We envision a system that develops and sustains primary care and is based on a payment blend that rewards quality services and those that use their resources efficiently."

The full document, titled "The High Performance Rural Health Care System of the Future," is available at

The Rural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI) provides unbiased analysis and information on the challenges, needs, and opportunities facing rural America. RUPRI's aim is to spur public dialogue and help policymakers understand the rural impacts of public policies and programs. RUPRI's reach is national and international and it is one of the world's preeminent sources of expertise and perspective on policies impacting rural places and people.

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

MEDIA CONTACT: Bill Barker,, 319-384-4277