BANDON – Southern Coos Hospital & Health Center CEO Raymond Hino is headed to Washington, D.C. for a three-day Rural Health Policy Institute conference.
Sponsored by the National Rural Health Association (NRHA), the 34th annual conference will be held Feb. 7-9. Hino will be part of a group of five Oregon representatives, invited by Robert Duehmig, interim director of the Oregon Office of Rural Health. The others attending include representatives from Wallowa Memorial Hospital, Oregon Health & Science University and the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs.
“It was a nice surprise to be invited,” Hino said, adding his invitation may have stemmed from his attendance at an Oregon Rural Health Association conference last fall.
At that same conference, SCHHC’s Quality and Risk Compliance officer Barbara Snyder gave a presentation about the benefits of hospital networking to effectively share important information. Hino believes her presentation was well-received.
During the conference in Washington, Hino and the other Oregon attendees will meet with several Oregon elected officials, including U.S. senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley; and U.S. representatives Earl Blumenauer, Suzanne Bonamici, Val Hoyle, Lori Chavez-Deremer, and Andrea Salinas.
The NRHA Policy Institute provides an opportunity for rural healthcare leaders to educate elected representatives on rural health policy priorities and to advocate for issues of importance for healthcare providers and the patients they serve.
“Now, more than ever before, is our time to convince Congress that rural heath isn’t just a headline,” said NRHA chief policy officer Carrie Cochran-McClain. “Rural health is a movement. It’s time for Capitol Hill to hear your voice.”
While he is pleased to be selected to attend, Hino says that this is not his first time meeting with Washington lawmakers. He has been on similar trips in previous positions as a member of the American Hospital Association board of directors, as well as a board member for both the California and Montana hospital associations.
“It’s really important to give our elected representatives a connection to people working in the field,” Hino said. “I’ve found through previous experience that it’s been helpful to my hospital by elevating issues and concerns to the attention of some pretty powerful people in Washington.”
Hino said attending the conference will help create opportunities for SCHHC.
“We are interested in expanding our role in serving veterans, so I was pleased to see there’s a state VA rep,” he said, adding there will be a meeting with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs during the conference.
“Also, there have been changes proposed to Critical Access Hospitals (such as SCHHC) and I see this as an opportunity to speak on behalf of all Critical Access Hospitals and speak to the importance of some of the changes.”
Hino added the trip is also an opportunity to put SCHHC’s name in front of the NRHA because the Southern Coos Health District has been exploring the possibility of converting its clinic to a Rural Health Clinic.
“This will be a good opportunity to get some help with that process,” he said.
“I think it’s an honor to be chosen to attend,” Hino said. “I’m the only hospital CEO attending on behalf of the Oregon State Office of Rural Health. I’m looking forward to a successful conference.”