Center for Rural Health


The Center for Rural Health is a department within the Georgia Hospital Association that represents the interests of Georgia's small rural hospitals, which we define as an acute care or critical access hospital that meets one of the following criteria: 


  • an average daily (inpatient) census of 75 or fewer and located in a county with a population of 75,000 people or fewer
  • or, designated critical access hospitals (CAH)

There are 74 hospital members of the Center for Rural Health.

The Center for Rural Health is governed by a board of trustees comprised of 11 small rural hospital CEOs, the president of GHA (ex-officio), and the executive director of The Center for Rural Health.  The executive director has dual reporting responsibilities to GHA executive leadership as well as the governing board of the Center.

The Mission of the Center for Rural Health is to represent the needs of Georgia’s small and rural hospitals in a manner that promotes accessibility to high quality and cost-efficient health care and to act as a central agency for the study, discussion, resolution, and dissemination of ideas and information that addresses problems faced by small and rural hospitals.

Quarterly Meeting Set for Feb. 18

The next Center for Rural Health meeting will be held virtually. The agenda will feature updates on the legislative session and the state budget projections. We will reserve time to discuss any rural-specific legislation. Our final session is designed to help hospital leaders maintain a resilient and energized workforce. Attendees will hear tips and techniques implemented by their peers to support staff and increase morale in the face of the continuation of the COVID pandemic. Registration is complimentary for GHA members. 



Conference Brochure

Center for Rural Health Virtual Meeting a Success; Save the Date for 2021

The first ever Center for Rural Health Virtual Meeting was held Aug. 19-20. Featured speakers included Chris Clark, Wes Sternenberg, Michelle Madison and a panel of CEOs. David Castleberry moderated the panel which included: Ronnie Dean, Damien Scott, Kim Gilmer and Kevin Bierschenk.

GHA is planning on having an in-person meeting at the King & Prince, St. Simons Aug. 18-20, 2021. Mark your calendars and more details will be available in the near future.

Hospital Leadership Training Program

GHA and Georgia Southern University (GSU) has partnered to provide state-mandated educational training for hospital executives and board members. Click here for more information.

Rural Hospital Tax Credit Resources

Georgia Heart Hospital Program - Employee Giving Guide

Payroll Deduction Calculator (password protected)
Department of Revenue Proposed Contribution Timeline
Center for Rural Health Rural Hospital Tax Credit Program Eligibility Keri Conley, Associate General Counsel & Carie Summers, VP Healthcare Financing, Georgia Hospital Association
Eligibility Flow Chart for SB 258- Rural Hospital Tax Credit Program
Grassroots Fundraising - Patti Lyons, Executive Partner, Pride Philanthropy
Rural Hospital Tax Credit: Legal Considerations - Sarah F. Kuipers, Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP
Tax and Record Keeping for SB 258 - Jim Creamer, Partner & Bert Bennett, Partner, Draffin & Tucker
Georgia Rural Hospital Tax Credit Program (SB 258) - Audio File - C. Bert Bennett, Partner, Draffin & Tucker