Narrowing Rural Health Disparities


Saturday, Dec. 4 | 2-3:30 p.m.

Programs under federal health reform aim to tackle the persistent challenges of rural health disparities through expanded access and quality. New investments in rural primary care work force development and changes to rural hospital financing are part of the strategies to improve quality and reduce cost while improving health. State experts will describe how investments in telemedicine are bringing immediate specialized care to remote areas to save lives and reduce unnecessary care and costs. Hear about state successes in teaching patients to effectively manage chronic diseases, showing how integrating information technology, coordinating health providers, and incorporating evidence-based service improvement could diminish rural health disparities.
Keith J. Mueller, Rural Policy Research Institute Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis
Keith J. Mueller, Ph.D., is Gerhard Hartman professor and head of the Department of Health Management and Policy a the University of Iowa's College of Public Health. He is also the director of the Rural Policy Research Institute Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis. He has served as president of the National Rural Health Association and as a member of the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services. He has published more than 60 scholarly articles in health services research and policy and received awards recognizing his research contributions. Mueller has directed major health services studies funded by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. He has testified on numerous occasions before committees of Congress and in other forums, including the Institute of Medicine and the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission.


Steve Maier Vermont Health Care Reform Manager.jpg

Steve Maier, Vermont Health Access
Steve Maier is the newly appointed health care reform manager at the Department of Vermont Health Access. He is helping to manage the integration of diverse health reform initiatives with areas of focus including expansion of health information technology resources to mental health and substance abuse services providers and assisting in the statewide implementation of Vermont's Blueprint for Health. Prior to this position, Maier served in the Vermont Legislature from 2003 to 2010, including as chair of the House Committee on Health Care from 2007 through 2010. He also co-chaired the Vermont Heath Care Reform Commission, a quasi-legislative body that has guided sweeping health care reform legislation over the last four years.


William O’Leary, Health and Human Services, Microsoft Corporation
William D. O’Leary is responsible for business development and leadership of Microsoft Health and Human Services. He directs the Connected Health and Human Services business for Microsoft, and develops IT strategy across state and local markets. He coordinates the Microsoft American Recovery and Reinvestment Act strategy concerning state cooperative agreement grants, medical homes, regional extension centers and state Medicaid Health Information Technology plans. He has authored Microsoft’s roadmap to develop consumer-centered services across state and local governments and service providers. O’Leary is a former Secretary of Health and Human Services in Massachusetts, and co-chaired the Massachusetts Health Care Task Force. He developed a comprehensive technology-based initiative to integrate services delivered to children and families, and implemented an expansion of Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance coverage resulting in less than a 5 percent uninsured rate for children. He also served as state commissioner of the Department of Youth Services, where he developed a community-based system of services and supervision and was a principal in the development of sweeping juvenile court reform. He has served as consultant to the U.S. Justice Department, and numerous states regarding development of health, human service and criminal justice systems.