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PRESS RELEASE - Florida's Rural Hospital Leaders Gather in Tallahassee to Participate in the FHA Rural Hospital Days



Tallahassee, Fla. – Hospital leaders from Florida’s rural counties gathered in Tallahassee today to participate in the Florida Hospital Association’s (FHA) inaugural Rural Hospital Day and shine a spotlight on rural hospital issues throughout the state.
Orchestrated by the Florida Hospital Association, the one-day event gave rural hospital executives an opportunity to meet with individual legislators and attend committee hearings at the Capitol. The event included nine leaders representing five rural hospitals from around the state.

“It is difficult to overstate the invaluable role that rural hospitals play in their communities,” said Mary C. Mayhew, President and CEO of the Florida Hospital Association. “As Florida’s population continues to age and grow, we must continue to think innovatively about how we can fortify our rural hospitals to preserve access to quality care in our rural communities, for all stages of life and for generations to come.”  

Attendees had the opportunity to bring awareness to challenges facing Florida’s rural communities and advocate for important policies and programs intended to strengthen the health care system in the state’s rural areas. On the agenda was generating support for funding under the Rural Hospital Capital Improvement Grant Program, which offers essential capital to rural hospitals for the updating and hardening of their facilities.

In addition to the Rural Hospital Capital Improvement Grant Program, members reiterated their support of House Bill 309 and its companion Senate Bill 644. The proposed legislation leverages a new Medicare provider type that would allow for rural emergency hospitals to maintain Medicare reimbursement and focus on delivering emergency and outpatient care.  

“Not only are rural hospitals vital to the lifeforce and wellbeing of their communities, they are also an indispensable part of Florida’s health care continuum,” remarked Brooke G. Donaldson, CEO of Jackson Hospital. “Rural Hospital Days creates a necessary forum dedicated to fostering dialogue related to policies and programs that will significantly bolster health care in the Sunshine State’s small and rural communities.”  

House Bill 309, sponsored by Florida Representative Jason Shoaf, passed unanimously in the House Select Committee at its first stop last Friday. This marks an encouraging milestone toward continuing to advance Florida’s rural health care delivery system.
Nationally, 136 hospitals have shuttered their doors between 2010-2021 due to the unique constraints that rural hospitals experience. FHA and its rural hospital leaders are working hard to ensure this does not become the reality for Florida’s rural hospitals.

Florida’s 23 rural hospitals support over 1,000 beds and employ nearly 6,000 people. These systems are pillars of hope in their communities for thousands of Floridians who depend on them daily for care.
To learn more about FHA, visit


Founded in 1927, the Florida Hospital Association (FHA) is the leading voice for health care in the State of Florida. Through representation and advocacy, education, and informational services, the Florida Hospital Association supports the mission of over 200 hospitals and health care systems to provide the highest quality of care to the patients we serve. Led by President and CEO Mary Mayhew, the Florida Hospital Association is located in Tallahassee and is governed by a Board of Trustees and officers elected by the member institutions.


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