A Message From Focused Care's Founder

Mark McKenzie, CEO

November Founder’s Message: The Power of Rural Healthcare

November Founder’s Message

The Power of Rural Healthcare


I’ve been pretty vocal as of late raising the challenges facing rural health care, in particular skilled nursing care. National Rural Health Day on November 17th is a commemorative day set aside for those of us who work in rural health care to celebrate our commitment to American’s rural towns and citizens and hopefully, be recognized for the important work we do.  But I’m hoping, and working toward ensuring, that this awareness lasts longer than 24 hours.

When rural health care receives attention, it is typically about rural hospitals – a critically important service for rural communities.  Federal reimbursement policy is discussed at great length, data and research show rural hospital closures, diminishing access to care in the hospital setting for our small town residents.  This is all true and critically important. But we need to include rural skilled nursing in the conversation as part of the post acute care continuum, and a very important part as with some of the most vulnerable residents, we are their home, their family and their caregivers to the end. That’s an incredible privilege we have and a unique one.

As our website notes and most of you working for Focused Care are aware of, we own and operate 30 skilled nursing communities throughout Texas –many of them in rural towns. When I began to develop the business model for Focused Care, I intentionally looked to acquire rural nursing homes with the goal of making capital improvements, installing the latest healthcare technologies and implementing state-of-the-art care strategies to bridge the urban vs. rural gap in quality long term care.  I have a heart for our small towns throughout Texas and am well aware of the contribution they make to our Texas way of life and our great traditions – many of which started in rural communities tucked way in the eastern or western part of the state.

We are often the largest employer in town, one of the largest contributors to the local tax base and we pride ourselves on being active members of the community. But the fact is – and it’s a fact – we are faced with challenges that hinge on our ability to provide the best care possible. How do we attract nurses and doctors to more remote areas, require them to travel long distances to work and pay them what they can demand in an urban market? There isn’t just one answer to that question – it requires all stakeholders – including advocates for seniors, for overall healthcare, for sensible regulation and for common sense Medicaid reimbursement – the latter of which applies to the majority of our skilled nursing residents. It also requires new thinking on our part – certainly with staffing flexibility and meeting our team members where they are and addressing work-life balance.

Rural towns and citizens deserve the same health care resources as anyone residing anywhere.

I will continue to advocate for that.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving next week and this week, let’s give a nod of appreciation to our rural towns and the health care providers who keep them strong.


Mark McKenzie

Founder and CEO