Department of Health and Human Services: Rural Health Network Development Planning Program
The purpose of the Rural Health Network Development Planning Program (“Network Planning”) is to assist in the development of an integrated health care network, specifically network participants who do not have a history of formal collaborative efforts in order to: (i) achieve efficiencies; (ii) expand access to, coordinate, and improve the quality of essential health care services; and (iii) strengthen the rural health care system as a whole. A rural health network is defined as an organizational arrangement among at least three separately owned regional or local health care providers that come together to develop strategies for improving health services delivery systems in a community.
Health care networks can be an effective strategy to help smaller rural health care providers and health care service organizations align resources and strategies, achieve economies of scale and efficiencies, and address challenges more effectively as a group than as single providers. For example, a critical access hospital, a community health center, and a public health department may collaborate to form a network around a shared purpose. Other examples of health care providers could be: hospitals, public health agencies, home health providers, mental health centers, substance abuse service providers, rural health clinics, primary care providers, oral health providers, social service agencies, health profession schools, local school districts, emergency services providers, community and migrant health centers, federally-qualified health centers, tribal health programs, churches, faith-based organizations, and civic organizations that are/will be providing health care.
The goals of the Network Planning program are centered around approaches that will aid providers in better serving their communities given the changes taking place in health care, as providers transition from focusing on the volume of services to focusing on the value of services. The intent is that rural health networks will expand access to care, increase the use of health information technology, explore alternative health care delivery models, and continue to achieve quality health care across the continuum of care from prevention and wellness to acute and long-term care. The increasing focus on showing value in health care delivery creates incentives to develop regional systems of care that preserve local autonomy for rural communities while also ensuring access to the appropriate continuum of care for the local service population. It remains critical in the health care environment for rural providers to participate in efforts such as implementing population health strategies to demonstrate the quality and value they provide rural residents.
Amount: $2,200,000 is available to fund approximately 22 projects at $100,000 per project.
Eligibility: The applicant organization must be a rural nonprofit private or rural public entity that represents a consortium/network composed of three or more health care providers. Federally-recognized tribal entities are eligible to apply as long as they are located in a rural area. The applicant organization must be located in a non-metropolitan county or in a rural census tract of a metropolitan county, and all services must be provided in a non-metropolitan county or rural census tract.
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