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H H S Department of Health and Human Services
Health Resources and Services Administration
Rural Health

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Policy & Research

The Office of Rural Health Policy (ORHP) has department-wide responsibility for analyzing the possible effects of policy on 62 million residents of rural communities. Created by Section 711 of the Social Security Act, ORHP advises the Secretary on health issues within these communities, including the effects of Medicare and Medicaid on rural citizens’ access to care, the viability of rural hospitals, and the availability of physicians and other health professionals. ORHP analyzes the effects of current policies and proposed statutory, regulatory, administrative, and budgetary changes on rural communities. Because many of the policy levers at the Federal level are related to the Medicare program, review and analysis of prospective changes to Medicare comprise much of the ORHP’s policy work. Significant time and attention also are devoted to other policy areas, including Medicaid, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), workforce, quality, and health information technology (HIT). 

Technical Assistance and Resources

Rural Health Research Centers and Policy Analysis Initiatives Go to exit disclaimer.

Rural Health Research Gateway Go to exit disclaimer.

National Advisory Committee on Rural Health & Human Services 

ORHP Definition of Rural

CMS Medicare Rural Health Center

CMS Regional Office Rural Health Coordinators (PDF - 21 KB) 

CMS Medicare Learning Network

National Rural Health Association Go to exit disclaimer.

National Association of Rural Health Clinics (NARHC) Go to exit disclaimer.

Alaska Frontier Extended Stay Clinic Consortium Go to exit disclaimer.

National Center for Frontier Communities Go to exit disclaimer.

Rural Hospital Flexibility Program Monitoring Team Go to exit disclaimer.

Location of Critical Access Hospitals Go to exit disclaimer.

National Center for Rural Health Works Go to exit disclaimer.

Definition of Rural

See the Definition of Rural for how the Office of Rural Health Policy defines rural areas for its grant programs.

Visit the Rural Health Grants Eligibility Advisor to find out if your organization is eligible for rural health grants.

Policy News

HHS Regulatory and Policy Changes Focus on Supporting Rural Health Care (03/14/2013)

CMS Changes to the Hospital and Critical Access Hospital Conditions of Participation to Ensure Visitation for All Patients

CMS Credentialing and Privileging of Telemedicine Physicians and Practitioners Proposed Rule

CMS Payment Changes for Services in Hospital Outpatient Departments and Ambulatory Surgical Centers

Rural Health Research Gateway

Rural Health Research Gateway logo.

The Rural Health Research Gateway Go to exit disclaimer. is a “one stop shop” for research findings from all the Rural Health Research Centers.

Subscribe to Research Gateway email updates Go to exit disclaimer. to receive periodic notices of new publications.

Rural Health Research Centers Directory