Network Development

Partnership to Build Technical Assistance Capacity of SORH and Partners for Rural Service Providers

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The National Network for Rural and Frontier Capacity was formed in 2013 with support from a Network Development Planning Grant from the Office of Rural Health Policy to assist rural and frontier health service organizations to be more accountable, adaptable, innovative and collaborative. The Network’s focus is to develop a toolkit and resources to assist State Offices of Rural Health and other state and local “capacity builders” to enhance their capacity to provide technical assistance and consultation services to rural and frontier health service organizations. The plans for the content of the toolkit were based upon surveys of SORH and health services organizations conducted earlier this year.  The toolkit will use creative approaches designed to broaden the scope of technical assistance offerings and specific tools and examples for how to develop and implement these services so they are financially viable and valued by customers.

This resource will also offer lessons learned from SORH staff on the front lines of local, state, and tribal organizations that are working to promote practice transformation. It is designed for SORH staff and other capacity builders who are interested in enhancing technical assistance services, whether for a fee or free of charge. The toolkit also identifies content experts who are available to guide SORH staff through challenging situations by offering advice, tools and joint problem solving.

The toolkit is scheduled to be available in the Spring of 2015 through NOSORH and National Center for Frontier Communities websites. The Network envisions this toolkit will evolve over time to best meet the capacity building needs of SORHs and the organizations they serve. For more information contact: Susan Wilger at or call 575-313-4720.



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Promising Practice: West Virginia Uses CAH Rural Health Network to Drive Performance Improvement for Rural Hospitals

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The West Virginia Flex Program partners closely with the West Virginia Hospital Association Critical Access Hospital Network (WVHA CAH Network) to help improve quality and financial performance for all 20 CAHs throughout West Virginia.  The Network developed ten years ago through a HRSA Network Development Grant and has continued to thrive ever since.  According to Shawn Balleydier, Assistant Director of the West Virginia Office of Rural Health, “this is the best thing that has happened to the Flex Program in West Virginia.”  Balleydier works closely with Network Director Dianna Iobst to ensure that the quality and financial improvement needs of CAHs are met.

Communication is key to ensure the continued success of the Network.  Balleydier and Iobst meet regularly to discuss progress and next steps.  They also meet monthly with CAHs by phone and make sure they conduct at least one on-site visit each year to provide technical assistance for any of the program areas.  CAHs are truly engaged with the direction of the Network.  According to Iobst, “sometimes all they need is a facilitator and someone to handle the meeting logistics.”  She continued, “We recently had a CFO retreat that was a big success that will become an annual event.  Additionally, several CAHs want to start a CPSI user group similar to our Infection Control Network, so we will help them facilitate.”

Current projects include Peer Review, Balanced Scorecard and MBQIP.  WV has 100% CAH participation in MBQIP.  They are reporting on all MBQIP measures and are in the process of collecting data for Phase 3 implementation.  There are challenges to overcome, so the Network will focus the 2015 CAH site visits on MBQIP technical assistance.  The Network’s goal is to find out how they can help CAHs move the bar toward better performance improvement.  Other initiatives in 2015 include developing new financial best practices after WV’s successful Medicaid expansion.

Does your SORH have a “Promising Practice”? We’re interested in the innovative, effective and valuable work that SORHs are doing. Contact Kassie Clarke, Branch editor, at to set up a short email or phone interview in which you can tell your story.



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NRHD Webinar: Collaborative Rural Success Stories (11.20.14)

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3RNet Presentation

NCHN Presentation

NHSC Presentation

Viewable Recording

Webinar: NRHD: Resources for Recruitment, Networking, and TeleHealth – November 21, 2013

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Webinar: SORH Partnerships: Who, How, and Why – May 30, 2013

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ORHP Presentation (Patel)

SORH Partnerships Part 1 (Hansen)

SORH Partnerships Part 2 (Hansen)

Viewable Recording