NQF Releases Report to Improve Access and Health Needs of Rural Communities 

SEP 17, 2018

CONTACT: Aneeb Sharif

NQF Releases Report to Improve Access and Health Needs of Rural Communities

Washington D.C.
– The National Quality Forum (NQF) today released the rural health report: A Core Set of Rural-Relevant Measures.

Currently, more than 59 million people live in rural areas. Rural residents are more likely to be in poor health and have higher mortality rates for chronic conditions. These disadvantages are exacerbated by poor access to care compared to urban and suburban communities.

To address these challenges, NQF established the Measure Applications Partnership (MAP) Rural Health Workgroup – a key recommendation from NQF’s previous Rural Health project.

MAP makes recommendations to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) regarding measures that should be included in federal quality reporting and improvement activities.

This workgroup identified a core set of best available quality measures that would address key challenges rural residents and providers face. In addition, the report includes recommendations that address the availability, accessibility and affordability of care.

This report serves as a key resource to support the ongoing CMS strategic focus on rural health.

There will be a Capitol Hill briefing with co-chairs of the U.S. Senate Rural Health Caucus: Senators Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and Pat Roberts (R-KS) on Tuesday, September 18, 2018, 3:00 – 4:30pm in the Russell Senate Office Building, Room 485. Here are their statements:

“I am pleased with the work of the MAP Rural Health Workgroup to design the first set of rural-relevant quality measures. As co-Chair of the Senate Rural Health Caucus, I have long said that rural patients deserve to have access to the same high-quality health care as their urban counterparts. These measures are an important step in bringing quality programs to rural providers in a way that is appropriate, while accounting for the unique challenges they face. It is my hope that the work of the Rural MAP will help us find meaningful ways to integrate rural providers into quality improvement efforts in the future,” said U.S. Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS).

“To keep our rural communities vibrant, we also need to thoroughly address the challenges they face, and that includes making sure those living in rural areas have access to affordable, quality health care,” said U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp, co-chair of the U.S. Senate Rural Health Caucus. “Yet far too often, rural America gets left behind as recommendations are made for how to improve health care nationwide. In the Senate, I have made it my mission to change that by bringing a focus to standing up for rural America and boosting rural health care. And this important report from NQF will help make sure the federal government really considers the health care needs of rural communities as it does its job.”


The National Quality Forum (NQF) is the nation’s resource for healthcare quality measurement and improvement. NQF is an independent, not-for-profit, membership-based organization that brings healthcare stakeholders together to recommend quality measures and improvement strategies that reduce costs and help patients get better care. Learn more at www.qualityforum.org.