Rural COPD Resources and Efforts

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is the third leading cause of death by disease in the United States. The percentage of adults in rural areas who have been diagnosed with COPD is nearly double the percentage in large metropolitan areas.

In response to the National COPD Action Plan, the goal of the COPD Supplemental Project, supported by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP), was to address rural disparities in COPD services and to provide resources and technical assistance to rural hospitals and provider-based clinics in order to address these disparities. The COPD Supplemental Project resulted in the creation of a guide, a podcast series, dissemination of an assessment, and three webinars. The components of the COPD Supplemental Project addressed the following topics: the importance of addressing COPD services in rural America, the current landscape in rural, payment, workforce needs, clinical treatment, and technology.

The guide, the podcast series, and the webinars can be found below, along with other organizations' COPD resources.

A Rural Hospital Guide to Improving Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

The purpose of this guide is to provide information about COPD and clarity around best practices of care management for those with COPD in rural communities.


COPD Prevalence and Impact

In this webinar playback, discover the scope and scale of COPD matters in rural America. Understand the personal impact of COPD. Learn about national initiatives and FORHP efforts. Hear an example of state-level efforts underway with COPD.

COPD Finance

In this webinar playback, discover the financial importance of providing COPD/Pulmonary Rehab care and examine the reimbursement aspects of COPD-related care.

August TASC 90: COPD

In this webinar playback, understand the COPD resources recently created and learn about other resources available from partner organizations.

Rural COPD Podcasts

This six-part podcast series discusses COPD and its prevalence in rural America.

  1. The Rural COPD Podcast: Episode 1 -- This episode features Grace Anne Dorney Koppel, Dorney-Koppel Foundation, COPD patient.
  2. The Rural COPD Podcast: Episode 2 -- This episode features Paul Moore, Pharmacist, Executive Secretary, National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services, Senior Health Policy Advisor, FORHP.
  3. The Rural COPD Podcast: Episode 3 -- This episode features Dan Doyle, MD, a physician at New River Health Association, a federally qualified health center (FQHC) in West Virginia
  4. The Rural COPD Podcast: Episode 4 -- This episode features Michelle Collins, a registered respiratory therapist at Lincoln Health, Franklin Memorial Hospital, and Central Maine Medical Center in Maine
  5. The Rural COPD Podcast: Episode 5 -- This episode features Lindsay Corcoran and Laurie Daigle of Stroudwater Associates.
  6. The Rural COPD Podcast: Episode 6A -- This episode features Tracy Conroy, Valerie Roark, and Connie Wilson of Daviess Community Hospital.
  7. The Rural COPD Podcast: Episode 6B -- This episode features Dr. Steve Barnett of McKenzie Health System.

Other Organizations' COPD Resources:


With the COVID-19 pandemic, people with COPD are even more vulnerable. They need to be found, protected, and vaccinated. The COPD SOS campaign, founded by the Dorney-Koppel Foundation, provides educational resources on COPD and is focused on finding the missing millions with COPD who don't know it yet and getting them vaccinated against COVID-19.

Rural Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Toolkit

This toolkit from the Rural Health Information Hub compiles evidence-based and promising models and resources to support organizations implementing COPD programs in rural communities across the United States. The modules in the toolkit contain resources and information focused on developing, implementing, evaluating, and sustaining rural COPD programs.

Availability of Respiratory Care Services in Critical Access and Rural Hospitals

This policy brief from the University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center describes the availability of respiratory therapy and therapists in critical access hospitals (CAH) and in urban and rural prospective payment system (PPS) hospitals. It includes statistics with breakdowns by hospital type and rural or urban location.

COPD National Action Plan

The COPD National Action Plan from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute is the first-ever blueprint for a multi-faceted, unified fight against the disease. Developed at the request of Congress with input from the broad COPD community, it provides a comprehensive framework for action by those affected by the disease and those who care about reducing its burden.

Still Stealing Rural America's Breath: An Update on Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

This article from the Rural Health Information Hub, published on June 16, 2021, provides an update on COPD and its prevalence in Rural America five years after the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s (NHLBI) launch of the COPD National Action Plan. 

Addressing the Burden of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease in Rural America

This publication from the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services discusses the burden of COPD and its impact on rural America. This document covers rural risk factors for COPD, healthcare disparities influencing rural COPD patients' ability to access care, discusses ongoing federal COPD programs, and offers policy recommendations and considerations to improve access to COPD care and treatments for individuals living in rural areas.

This project is/was supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number UB1RH24206, Information Services to Rural Hospital Flexibility Program Grantees, $1,560,000 (0% financed with nongovernmental sources). This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.