NOSORH’s Educational Exchange Program offers support for SORH staff to meet with another SORH to develop or enhance their expertise or knowledge, leadership skills, adopt a promising practice, or improve effectiveness of program management, strategy planning and implementation.  This is an excellent opportunity for SORHs to learn from each other and enhance their ability to better serve their rural constituents.  The 3 non-profit SORHs took advantage of this opportunity this past September to share their unique experiences and learn from each other.

The majority of SORHs across the nation are either state government based or university based programs.  However, there are three stand-alone non-profit SORHs located in Colorado, Michigan and South Carolina.  While they all offer different programs depending on the needs of their state, they all share a common business model that makes them unique.  These three SORHs have used this collective learning opportunity several times with the goal to share what is unique to them and learn from each other.  They all have similar programming; however, their structure allows for more flexibility in program design so they have implemented programs in various ways each highlighting their own unique strengths.

The primary purpose of the meeting was to:

  1. Share information on Accountable Care Act implementation, Patient-Centered Medical Homes, policy, Rural Health Clinics, resources, etc.;
  2. Discuss implementing new practices; and
  3. Review successes and challenges as a non-profit.

This meeting focused on three primary topics:

  1. Rural Health Clinics – Each office shared their work, compared notes on similarities between each program and offered resources in support of one another. The primary focus was on assisting RHCs with Patient-Centered Medical Home implementation and quality improvement programs.
  2. Marketing – Each SORH provided details on their own marketing strategies and how they communicate with their constituents.
  3. Organizational needs – They discussed staffing models, job duties, training for personnel, employee/office policies, working with interns, hiring, daily logistics, etc.

The two-day meeting was considered a valuable success by all three SORHs.  Various staff from each SORH were included in the meeting which allowed for a deeper understanding of programs and further opportunities to network.  Keith Midberry from ORHP was also in attendance and provided a valuable input on the national perspective.  The conversation continued after the face-to-face meeting ended.  Tools were shared among them including, RHC tracking spreadsheet, various job descriptions and policy templates, operational plans, marketing materials, etc.  Plans for additional Educational Exchange opportunities are already in the works.


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