As spring takes hold in New England, we see many encouraging signs of new life and new promise as a reward for enduring our long and frosty winter. Leaves, green grass, and new colorful blossoms are back, and we can once again enjoy those many warmer weather activities that remind of us of why we live in this climate.
The RoundTable is also going through a "blossoming" period having undertaken a number of new initiatives for which this newsletter holds further details. Nearly 100 individuals attended the first annual New England Small Rural Hospital Perin Portland, Maine. This event was an overwhelming success with a strong sentiment to increase networking opportunities for small rural hospitals.
In March, the RoundTable launched its new website, which pulls together information on many events and resources to organizations and individuals who provide health care services in rural communities. The site will be updated regularly and will also provide bulletin board and chat opportunities for the exchange of information impacting rural health care providers.
Five new organizational members have joined the RoundTable in the past two months and new initiatives are planned to further expand our individual and organizational membership. Clearly, there is much new activity that the RoundTable is doing which will attract new members. The growth potential is exciting and a larger RoundTable will help all rural health care organizations to better advocate for their communities.
Planning for the 8th Annual Symposium to be held at the Stratton Mountain Resort in Stratton Mtn., Vermont on October 26th and 27th is moving forward with an expanded number of presentations. The theme of "Collaboration: The Future of Rural Health Care" will focus on collaborative efforts in a broad range of areas such as rural hospitals and community health centers, technology, and a host of other community collaborative projects. A combination of regional and national speakers will make the event one that should not be missed by those providing services in rural communities.
There are still many questions regarding the federal budget process and the fate of rural health care programs. We will all need to be vigilant and make our voices heard to insure that there is no further erosion of support coming to rural health care organizations. There are many challenges and many opportunities that face us over the next year.
The RoundTable will be working harder to take advantage of the opportunities before us and will also be working hard to overcome the challenges facing us in this ever uncertain rural health care landscape that we are trying to improve.