UNK’s JCM Symposium focuses on future of rural health care

KEARNEY – The University of Nebraska at Kearney’s JCM Symposium on the Morality of Capitalism is scheduled for March 2-3 in the Nebraskan Student Union Ponderosa Room on campus.

This year’s theme is “Schumpeter’s Creative Destruction: How Market Forces and Technology Will Reshape Rural Health Care.”

Providing high-quality, affordable health care for 60 million Americans living in rural areas presents a set of formidable challenges.

Relative to urbanites, rural residents are older, have less income and are more likely to be uninsured, have chronic illnesses and work in dangerous occupations. Rural hospitals also face substantial economic pressure. Since 2010, 121 rural hospitals have closed nationally, and nearly 50% of rural hospitals had negative total margins last year.

This unsustainable situation creates a central question of immediate importance to the citizens of Nebraska: How can rural hospitals effectively adapt to the current environment and maintain their economic viability?

Jeffrey Gold
Jeffrey Gold

A distinguished group of speakers will address this question during the UNK symposium, which is free and open to the public. Presenters include representatives from state and national rural health organizations, hospital administrators and staff, University of Nebraska Medical Center faculty and Blueprint Nebraska members.

UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey Gold, who also serves as chancellor of the University of Nebraska at Omaha, will deliver the keynote address at 7 p.m. March 2. Gold will share his thoughts on the future of rural health care in Nebraska and the development and positioning of UNMC programs to meet the needs of rural communities.

JCM Symposium on the Morality of Capitalism
Nebraskan Student Union Ponderosa Room

Monday, March 2
9:05-9:55 a.m. – “Forecast for Rural Health Care – Challenges on the Horizon,” Tim Putnam, president and CEO, Margaret Mary Health in Batesville, Indiana
10:10-11 a.m. – “Thriving Through Innovation,” Marty Fattig, CEO, Nemaha County Hospital; Jim Ulrich, CEO, York General Health Care Services
11:15 a.m.-12:05 p.m. – “St. Mary’s Hospital Provides Unique Treatment to Reduce Tremors,” Daniel DeFreece, president, CHI Health St. Mary’s – “Improving Medical Imaging Through AI,” Brandon Holt, director of radiology, Lexington Regional Health Care
1:25-2:15 p.m. – “The Promise of Digital Experts in Rural Health Care,” John Windle, professor of internal medicine and Holland Distinguished Chair in Cardiovascular Sciences, UNMC
7-8:30 p.m. – “Keynote address,” Jeffrey Gold, chancellor, UNMC and UNO

Tuesday, March 3
9:30-10:45 a.m. – “Workforce Issues in Rural Health Care,” Blueprint Nebraska
11 a.m.-12:15 p.m. – “Nurses Save Lives,” Nicole Thorell, chief nursing officer, Lexington Regional Health Care; Shannon Bauer, registered nurse, Heartland Hematology and Oncology; Megan Thorman, flight nurse, CHI Health Good Samaritan AirCare; Melissa Florell, instructor, UNMC College of Nursing-Kearney Division
2-3:15 p.m. – “UNK Health Care Programs,” Peggy Abels, director, UNK Health Sciences; Michelle Fleig-Palmer, director, UNK health care management programs; Doug Tillman, associate professor, UNK Department of Counseling and School Psychology; Miechelle McKelvey, professor and chair, UNK Department of Communication Disorders