Thank you very much for visiting the website for the Rural Health Association of Oklahoma (RHAO). My name is Jeff Hackler and I serve as the current president for RHAO. I am the Assistant Dean for Enrollment Management at the Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine. In this role, I work to recruit medical students who will help the college achieve its goal of producing primary care physicians to practice in rural and underserved 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.
Rural Health Association of Oklahoma