Welcome to the Rural Health Association of Oklahoma (RHAO)! My name is Corie and I serve as the current president for RHAO. I am the Director of the Oklahoma Office of Rural Health at the Oklahoma State University Center for Rural Health. In this role, I work to administer federal grant programs that aid in the planning, promotion, and coordination of health care in rural areas across the state of Oklahoma.
RHAO’s mission is to serve as a united voice for Oklahomans in the promotion of rural health issues through advocacy, education, and leadership. Our primary activities include hosting the Rural Health Association of Oklahoma Annual Conference in the spring, promoting and advocating for rural health issues, and meeting with stakeholders across the state through quarterly Rural Roundtables.
The current rural health care climate is extremely challenging. The vast majority of rural counties in Oklahoma are designated as Primary Care Health Professional Shortage Areas. Reimbursement rates for health care providers are declining at the state and federal levels. And rural providers must deliver care to high numbers of uninsured patients in an increasingly burdensome regulatory environment. All of these factors have resulted in rural hospitals closing at the fastest rate in decades.
Our state’s economy is driven by energy and agriculture, resources that we derive from the rural communities in our state. We have an obligation to ensure that the residents that drive these industries and live in these communities have access to health care. We hope you will join us in our efforts to improve health care delivery and health outcomes in rural Oklahoma.