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IRHA's Don Kelso Named to Governor's Health Workforce Council

Posted by: Tina Elliot  | March 17, 2016

New high-level Council tasked to reduce cost, improve access to services and enhance quality healthcare delivery in Indiana.

TERRE HAUTE – A healthy Indiana represents a productive Indiana with a high quality of life, and a new Health Workforce Council appointed by Governor Mike Pence is focused on achieving that. To help address critical rural issues in healthcare delivery, the Governor appointed Don Kelso, executive director of the Indiana Rural Health Association (IRHA), to serve on the 14-member Council.

The statewide Governor’s Health Workforce Council represents senior healthcare and workforce leadership from across Indiana, including senior administrators and executives from the public and private sectors.

According to the Governor, the new Council is charged with coordinating health work-force-related policies, programs and initiatives within Indiana to help reduce healthcare costs, improve access to services and enhance quality of services delivered. The Council is also expected to develop data-driven health workforce policies to benefit and help expand opportunities for Indiana workers and families.

“Given that nearly 70 percent of Indiana counties qualify as ‘Health Professional Shortage Areas’ and our 35 critical access hospitals, 56 rural health clinics and 19 rural hospitals in rural Indiana need more qualified healthcare professionals, this Council and its focus comes at a very important time,” said Kelso. “The Governor was emphatic that he wants new ideas – this Council is to be a working group to give his administration fresh thoughts on how to continue building Indiana toward becoming a pinnacle of innovative healthcare delivery.”

In a prepared statement, the Governor noted: “Our administration has worked to expand healthcare access to low-income Hoosiers through the Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0, and our Governor’s Task Force on Drug Enforcement, Treatment, and Prevention is recommending ways we can expand the delivery of substance abuse treatment and mental health care to Hoosiers.”

He continued: “By creating this Council, we are bringing together the necessary state agencies, legislators, healthcare experts and industry leaders to have a serious discussion on how Indiana can provide quality care to an even greater number of Hoosiers.”

The Council is comprised of senior administrators and executives from the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, the Governor’s Office, the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency, the Indiana Rural Health Association, Anthem, the Indiana Hospital Association, the General Assembly’s House Public Health Committee, the Bowen Research Center, the General Assembly’s Senate Health and Provider Services Committee, the Indiana Primary Care Association, the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, the Indiana Commission of Higher Education, the Indiana State Department of Health, and the Indiana Department of Education.

According to Kelso, the Council will meet several times a year, including two task forces that are working to develop policy recommendations to address mental and behavioral health services, as well as education, pipeline, and training for the health care workforce.

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About the Indiana Rural Health Association
The Indiana Rural Health Association was organized in 1997 and is a nonprofit organization working to enhance the health and well-being of rural populations in Indiana through leadership, education, advocacy, collaboration, and resource development. The strength of the organization is through the present diverse membership and the founding organizers who are committed to impacting the health of citizens through the identification of rural health issues and through advocacy roles in both the public and private sectors. IRHA membership is made up of 2,600 diverse individuals and organizations, making it the largest rural health association in the nation, and a nationally recognized leader in rural health care. For more information, visit

Contact: Don Kelso (812) 478-3919 e-mail:

Michael Snyder (317) 805-4870 e-mail:

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