SEATTLE, Wash. — The fragile rural health care system is in the middle of a major crisis. Reimbursement payments are low, forcing some health providers to take out second mortgages on their homes just to keep their clinics open.

Rural health advocates are concerned that their issues may suffer from the outcomes of the upcoming state legislative session, where spending will undoubtedly be tight. To ensure their issues are heard, more than 200 health care providers, government agency workers, and other rural health care advocates will be gathering for the Rural Health Summit II on Thursday, Oct. 26 at the SeaTac Doubletree Hotel in Seattle.

The group will spend the day developing action plans that will be used to encourage the legislature to seek positive solutions to rural health care issues.

Charlotte Hardt, assistant director of the Area Health Education Center at Washington State University Spokane, says this is a grassroots type of event and is an opportunity for the people involved in rural health care to develop their own issues, instead of leadership telling them what their issues should be.

The 7:30 a.m.- 5 p.m. meeting will result in complete action plan proceedings that will be available to the media by the end of the day. Contact Hardt at phone numbers listed at top of release.