The 86th meeting of the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services (NACRHHS) this week in Washington, D.C., will be the first for Kari Bruffett, Vice President for Policy at the Kansas Health Institute (KHI).
“I am honored to bring a Kansas point of view to the national panel,” Bruffett said. “I also look forward to learning from other communities and stakeholders about the challenges they are facing and the innovative ways they are addressing them.”
The committee is a 21-member citizen panel of nationally recognized rural health experts that provides recommendations on rural issues to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). It is an independent advisory body with members representing the fields of delivery, financing, research, development and administration of health care and human services in rural areas.
Bruffett was invited to join the committee by HHS Secretary Alex M. Azar II. Her four-year term began September 1.
Bruffett’s selection recognizes her experience with a range of issues affecting rural communities, including Medicaid, behavioral health and programs for older adults.
Kansas Governor Laura Kelly said she appreciates having a strong Kansas voice at the table.
“It is critical that the federal government understands how its health policies affect people throughout the heartland,” Kelly said. “Bruffett will be able to offer an important perspective.
“Quality health care is vitally important to Kansas, particularly in the more remote areas of our state,” the governor said. “Supporting rural hospitals is one of the priorities of our new Office of Rural Prosperity.”
At KHI, Bruffett leads efforts related to health care finance, Medicaid, provider issues and access to care. She has state agency experience, having served as Secretary of the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services. She also served as the Director of the Division of Health Care Finance at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), playing a key role in the development of the state Medicaid managed care program, KanCare.
She was nominated to serve on NACRHHS last year by former Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer.
“Kari’s extensive background in state health policy will make her a valuable asset to this committee,” Colyer said. “Her western Kansas roots bring the issues close to home.”