Innovations in Rural Health Policy Options: Getting Care Where You Need It

Friday, August 17th
10:15am – 11:45am

Although one-fifth of Americans live in rural areas, only 11 percent of the nation’s physicians practice in these regions. This session explores how states tackle challenging rural health care issues such as access to care and workforce challenges. It highlights innovative policies and initiatives that two states use to connect rural populations to the health care services they need. It also showcases Ballad Health, a unique state-regulated merger of Wellmont Health System and Mountain States Health Alliance designed to improve access to care and better meet the health care needs of rural populations in Virginia and Tennessee.


Cheryl J. Roberts, Deputy Director of Programs, Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services

Cheryl J. Roberts is Deputy Director of Programs for the Department of Medical Assistance Services in the Commonwealth of Virginia which provides Medicaid and SCHIP services for over 1,000,000 clients in the Commonwealth expending $9 billion a year. In her current position, she is responsible for the program development and executive oversight of non LTSS Medicaid managed care delivery system which covers 700,000 members, dental services, quality management, service, claims and provider operations, and program integrity operations for the agency.



Anthony Keck, EVP, System Innovation & Chief Population Health Officer, Ballad Health

Anthony Keck is the Executive Vice President for System Innovation and Chief Population Health Officer at Ballad Health. He is the former senior vice president and chief development officer for Mountain States Health Alliance. In his current role, he is responsible for strategy and value based services, information technology, marketing and communications, government affairs, the Ballad Health Foundation, and the system’s new department of community health programs.
Before joining Mountain States, Keck served as the director of Health and Human Services for South Carolina during the first term of Governor Nikki R. Haley and also served three years in the administration of Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. Prior to his government service, he worked for organizations such as Johnson & Johnson, Ochsner Clinic New Orleans, and St. Thomas Health Services, a community clinic also located in New Orleans.


Nitika Moibi, Supervisor, Health Workforce Analysis, Minnesota Department of Health

Nitika directs the state’s Health Workforce Analysis program that collects and analyzes healthcare workforce data at the Office of Rural Health and Primary Care within the Minnesota Department of Health. The program serves as a resource for regulators, policy makers, educators, employers and researchers to better understand healthcare workforce access, distribution and pipeline challenges to inform related policies. Prior to her current position, Nitika worked in health services research and has experience in rulemaking. In 2017, she was awarded the Women in Public Service Rising Star Award by Hamline University in Minnesota. Nitika has a master’s in public policy from the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, and bachelors in Sociology from the University of Minnesota Duluth.


Suleima Salgado, Director of Telehealth and Telemedicine, Georgia Department of Public Health
Suleima Salgado, MBA is the Director of Telehealth & Telemedicine for the GA DPH. Suleima has over 10 years’ experience in government, media, communications, telehealth and public relations. She has earned an MBA from Southeastern University & has led several state and local public health initiatives. She is responsible for setting the Department’s strategic goals to increase access and bring health equity to underserved and rural areas of the state, using two-way, real-time, HIPAA compliant video conferencing network.