RAC Update

i Aug 6th No Comments by

The Rural Assistance Center is looking for state-level pilot and demonstration programs and would appreciate help from SORHs to identify interesting programs that are occurring in your state.

For several years, RAC has worked with FORHP on the Testing New Approaches section of the RAC website. This section has highlighted federal demonstration projects such as the Frontier Extended Stay Clinic (FESC) program and the Frontier Community Health Integration Program (FCHIP). We are currently examining whether this section could/should be expanded to include state level programs in an effort to show what is happening across the country to address the changing demands of rural healthcare.

We’re also interested in your feedback on the criteria (below) for inclusion. If you have thoughts on how we can better identify new approaches in rural healthcare, please share them with us.

Proposed Criteria:

  • Policy Focused – Require a regulatory or a legislative action that creates the opportunity for a systematic change. Could include a regulatory exception during a pilot phase, rather than operating under a state-wide policy change.
  • Pilot, Demonstration or Testing Stage – Models are currently being tested on a state, regional or multi-county level.
  • Rural Relevance – Specifically address the challenges of providing healthcare in rural areas, whether targeted for rural or not.
  • Any Success Rate – RAC is interested in sharing both successful and failed approaches to service delivery. We think there is much to be learned from models all along the success continuum.
  • Current -Innovation is from the past 5 years.

One example of such an approach that could be included is from Georgia’s Rural Hospital Stabilization Committee, which has recommended a policy change allowing for a “Hub & Spoke” pilot program. This program offers an alternative to closure for rural hospitals in Georgia by allowing them to remain open as stand-alone Emergency Departments. For more information on this approach, see Rural Hospital Stabilization Committee Final Report to the Governor.

Contact Brandon Baumbach at brandon@raconline.org or 701.777.6025 to share your examples and feedback or to discuss this further. Do not hesitate to reach out with any questions you may have.


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RAC Launches New Topic Guide: Education and Training of the Rural Healthcare Workforce

i Apr 7th No Comments by

The training of the health workforce plays a big role in whether students consider, and are prepared for, rural practice. RAC’s new topic guide, Education and Training of the Rural Healthcare Workforce, discusses a wide range of strategies, programs, and technologies for training the rural health workforce, including:

  • Grow your own activities
  • Career ladder programs
  • Rural rotations and tracks
  • Community college programs
  • Simulation
  • Distance learning
  • Interprofessional training
  • Admissions criteria
  • Cultural competency

The guide was developed by RAC Information Specialist Mary Reinertson-Sand, with assistance from Randy Smith, Rural Community College Alliance; Mark Deutchman, University of Colorado School of Medicine and Colorado AHEC; and Kris Juliar, Montana State Office of Rural Health and AHEC.


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New Guide on Rural Human Services

i Jan 6th No Comments by

Human services play an important role in addressing the social determinants of health and controlling healthcare costs.  The new Rural Assistance Center topic guide, Human Services to Support Rural Health, gives an overview of the issues, provides key sources of information related to rural human services, and shares ideas of how rural healthcare and human services providers can work collaboratively to ensure that patients have access to the social supports necessary to meet their basic needs.

This guide was developed by RAC Information Specialist Holly Gabriel, with assistance from Jocelyn Richgels, Rural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI); Larry Goolsby, American Public Human Services Association; and Kathleen Belanger, School of Social Work, Stephen F. Austin State University.

New Guide on Community Health Workers

RAC recently launched a new topic guide, Community Health Workers in Rural Settings. The guide outlines the roles that community health workers can play in rural settings, identifies sources of data and information about community health workers, and covers issues related to training and training programs.

The guide was developed by RAC Information Specialist Kathleen Spencer, with assistance from Diana Abeyta, Office of Community Health Workers, New Mexico Department of Health; and Susan Mayfield-Johnson and Carol West, American Public Health Association – Community Health Workers Section.

New in the Rural Health Models and Innovations Hub

Successful rural programs added recently include:

  • Rural Health Initiative (Wisconsin) – Free health screenings, health coaching, and community referrals provided in-home or on-site for farmers and agribusinesses.
  • Smiles for Life (Ohio) – A partnership between a public health department and area dental providers offers dental treatment to low-income adults.
  • Targeted Rural Underserved Track (TRUST) Program (WWAMI states) – Places medical students in a rural medical setting prior to beginning schooling and allows them to return regularly to learn and work within the same community.


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