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McKenzie CEO Participates in National Panel of Rural Health Care Experts

Steve Barnett, DHA, CRNA, FACHE, President/CEO

A panel of experts on rural population health management, including McKenzie Health System CEO Steve Barnett, were recently gathered together by the National Rural Health Resource Center. Barnett and other panelists discussed successful strategies for rural hospitals in caring for and managing the health of their community as well as key actions they can take to support overall community wellness.

With ongoing changes in rural health care, primary care providers now “get to practice medicine the way they’ve always wanted to,” Barnett notes in the video, encouraging building teams that support patients when they are accessing care as well as reaching out to community members. “People like to be engaged in managing their own health care,” he added. “We continue to see that trying to manage people proactively and engage them is the right thing to do and we’re doing it at the right time.”

Other key topics covered by panelists in the video include:

  • The importance of a community’s overall focus on prevention and wellness
  • The growth of telehealth and providing services directly into homes and communities
  • Building on a system’s strengths while also identifying and resolving weaknesses
  • The importance of quality and quality controls

“It was an honor to be part of this summit and this team of experts who clearly care a great deal about small communities and the health of the communities they support,” Barnett added. “The healthier our communities are, the stronger our businesses – including hospitals – will be, and we are proud to support the long-time health and growth of our local community.”

The nine-minute video can be viewed on YouTube at In addition, more findings and information on rural hospitals and care management are available at

With the support of the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy and the National Rural Health Resource Center, the 2019 Summit Report is also intended to assist state Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Programs and state offices of rural health by offering timely information to help them develop tools and educational resources to support hospitals and networks in the transition to value-based payment models. The project is supported by the Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).