The 18-member Rural Health Coordinating Council (RHCC) was established by the Oregon legislature in 1979 at the same time the Office of Rural Health was created. Its purpose has historically been to advise the Office of Rural Health (ORH) in carrying out its statutory duties. Although this advice is not binding, the RHCC has always been considered a decisive and valuable source of information for the ORH.
There are three types of members: (1) representational; (2) consumer; and (3) nonvoting advisory members.
The statute (ORS 442.495) specifies that a number of organizations will be represented on the RHCC. These include:
- Oregon Medical Association
- Oregon Osteopathic Association
- Oregon Nurses Association
- State Board of Pharmacy
- Oregon State EMT Association
- Coalition of Local Health Officials
- Oregon Association for Home Care
- Oregon Health & Science University
- Oregon Association of Hospitals & Health Systems
- Oregon Dental Association
- Oregon Association of Optometry
- Oregon Association of Physician Assistants
- Oregon Association of Naturopathic Physicians
The purpose of including so many different organizations was to ensure that all provider groups are represented. In recent years, however, efforts have been made to include a chiropractor on the RHCC, as well as an appointee from the Oregon Academy of Family Physicians.
These members are appointed by the organization they represent. Their names are forwarded directly to the governor's office from the organization and the governor makes the official appointment.
- Consumer Members
These appointments are accomplished somewhat differently. When the law establishing the RHCC was passed, Oregon (and all other states) used a system of regional health planning that featured Health Service Areas (HSAs). Oregon had three HSAs - one that was comprised of the Portland Metro area (HSA I, based in Portland), one that extended down the valley as far south as the border and then eastward to the Cascades (HSA II, based in Eugene), and one that included all of Eastern Oregon (HSA III, based in Redmond). The HSAs were governed by nonprofit Health Systems Agencies that were run by community-based boards of directors. These regional boards each made a consumer appointment to the RHCC. Names were submitted to the ORH and were forwarded to the governor's office. HSAs also made recommendations regarding the "at-large" appointees from communities of less than 3,500 people.
When federal health planning laws were repealed in 1987, the HSAs ceased to exist, and this mechanism for consumer appointments to the RHCC also vanished. Currently, the governor's office relies on direct contacts from interested consumers or on the Office of Rural Health for suggestions.
- Non-Voting Advisory Members
These members are appointed at the discretion of the RHCC chairperson. They cannot vote, nor can they hold office or serve as chair of a standing committee.
Please download the RHCC Bylaws.