Rural Health Clinics

NOSORH Announces New Rural Primary Care Benchmarking Partnership

i Jan 6th No Comments by

NOSORH has partnered with Lilypad, LLC to implement the Practice Operations National Database (POND) program, a web-based data collection, reporting and benchmarking application for rural primary care providers. POND provides a unique data set focused on rural relevant financial, operational, productivity and compensation measures for which no systematic data sets currently exists.

POND will help SORHs:

  • Engage with RHCs to provide access to comparative analytics to contribute to understanding current rural provider performance.
  • Facilitate sharing of best practices and provide data for more effective contracting and operational improvement.
  • Offer technical assistance for physician practice management and recruitment and retention best practices.

POND provides an easy, consistent approach to engage RHCs and other primary care providers. It can also be used to promote community between FQHCs and RHCs through data-based discussions and can establish the SORH as a source of relevant and unique resources.

Watch this video to learn more about POND and find more information on the POND website.

Click here to enroll in POND. Annual fees for SORHs are $2500 for states with fewer than 90 RHCs and $3500 for states with more than 90 RHCs. This annual fee enables all rural primary care practices in your state to participate in POND.

If you have any additional questions, contact Kassie Clarke at

Back to January Branch

Committee Clips

i May 2nd No Comments by

NOSORH committees are great focal points for engaging in many NOSORH initiatives.  Descriptions of all committees and contact information can be found on the NOSORH website.

Awards – The Awards Committee, co-chaired by Margaret Brockman and Cathleen McElligott, will be starting up again soon to plan for the 2016 NOSORH awards program.

Board– The NOSORH board met April 25 to review strategic priorities on policy, RHC work, National Rural Health Day, development and policy and program monitoring. The board approved the grant budget for 2016-17 and learned that three states (Wyoming, Texas and Nevada) are interested in hosting future annual meetings. Earlier in the month, the Board approved revised suggested language for legislation to support reauthorization of the SORH program.

Communications – The Communications Committee is planning for the 2016 National Rural Health Day (NRHD), including crafting a new logo. The NRHD kickoff webinar is schedule for May 25 at 3:00 EDT.

Development – The Development Committee provided final input on promotional materials for the 25th Anniversary of the SORH grant program, including a logo and video template. These materials will be available to interested SORHs in May.

Flex – The Flex Committee kept the conversation brief this month while everyone is working to complete their Flex applications due May 16. Sarah Young announced she is taking the role of FORHP Flex Coordinator.

PPMT – The Team is working with Harvey Licht to review input for a CMS request for information on global budgeting. All SORH were invited to a webinar discussion on PPMT activities last week, including the need to reach out to Medicaid Directors as they are required state plans for monitoring in October. To listen in on the conversation and plans for making comments click here. Watch your email for more information.

RHC – The RHC Committee reviewed the RHC Institute and RHC Virtual Conference evaluations and decided to offer the RHC Institute again next Spring and open the RHC Virtual Conference to RHCs in the Fall. The Committee is also working on a toolkit to engage RHCs in healthcare reform.

Back to May Branch

NOSORH Releases Two New RHC Modules

i Apr 5th No Comments by

NOSORH released two new resources and hosted a successful RHC Virtual Conference last week discussing the 2 new modules from the RHC Committee.  You can access the webinar recordings on quality, behavioral health and improving performance and the new modules on the NOSORH website. These modules focus on providing technical assistance to RHCs regarding quality improvement activities and behavioral health integration. Two long-standing corporate partners joined on the third day to discuss assisting RHCs with operational efficiencies.

“We were very happy to have such a great interest in the rural health clinic work. The modules were compiled and the webinars were planned for State Offices of Rural Health. We know rural health clinics need education on these issues and plan to offer similar webinars for State Offices of Rural Health to reach out to rural health clinics in the near future,” said Kassie Clarke, NOSORH Technical Assistance Director.


Back to April Branch

Rural Health Clinic Committee Spotlight

i Aug 6th No Comments by

The Rural Health Clinic (RHC) Committee began in 2009 as a task force to assess what types of support SORHs were providing for RHCs.  The task forced evolved into the RHC Committee in 2013 to focus on providing education for SORHs that are interested in providing technical assistance to RHCs and safety net providers.

“The RHC Committee is a great place for SORH to learn more about Rural Health Clinics and how they can support them. It’s also a great venue to ask questions about RHCs and voice RHC related concerns,” explains Stephanie Hansen, NOSORH Director of Education Services.

The committee began by surveying SORHs to understand the amount and type of technical assistance that was provided to RHCs.  Since then, the Committee has used this information to help produce four modules:

Module 1: An Introduction to the Rural Health Clinic Program

Module 2: Learning About Certified Rural Health Clinics

Module 3: Helping SORHs Make Decisions About Providing Technical Assistance and Support to Rural Health Clinics

Module 4: Helping Rural Health Clinics Work Effectively with Other Key Rural Health Providers

The RHC Committee consists of a broad group of SORHs providing a diverse level of experience.  Co-Chair Tammy Norville of the NC SORH describes, “The RHC TA Committee is a sounding board that really understand the intricacies and unique characteristics of working in rural. The amount and expanse of knowledge within the group is amazing. We have folks that work with Rural Health Clinics every day as well as folks that are just developing a Technical Assistance plan. Everyone brings perspective and all members are engaged. Additionally, we are a committee that gets the work completed. From working on RHC TA Tool-kit modules to developing a Rural Health Clinic Institute, we work collaboratively to keep projects moving to completion.”

The Committee is currently working on 3 new toolkit modules for quality, behavioral health, and engagement in RHCs.  They helped design the first RHC Institute to begin in October and encouraged the offering of a RHC 101 workshop to be held at the Annual Meeting on September 3rd in Portland, OR.  They also suggested the RHC Institute coordinate with the National Association of Rural Health Clinics to increase collaboration.

“The NOSORH RHC Committee is comprised of an engaging and passionate group of individuals who are focusing SORH resources on the certified RHCs within their state. The committee calls consist of state-sharing which is extremely valuable. In addition, three standing items on the agenda include a Policy and Regulatory Update from Bill Finerfrock, updates from the Office of Rural Health Policy, and updates from John Gale regarding RHC research. These updates are excellent opportunities to stay abreast of what is happening in the RHC world,” says Co-Chair Crystal Barter.

The Committee meets every other month on the third Monday at 2:00 Eastern.  The next call is scheduled for August 17th at 2 pm ET.  Contact Co-Chairs Tammy Norville and Crystal Barter for more information on joining the RHC Committee.


Back to August Branch

NOSORH Committee Spotlight: Policy Committee

i Mar 2nd No Comments by

The NOSORH Policy Committee is open to any member of NOSORH who has an interest in learning more about national policy issues and being engaged in the policy activities of the organization. The Committee is responsible for tracking policy issues of interest to NOSORH and coordinating policy communication and educational activities for the organization. Co-Chair Lisa Davis summarizes, “The Policy Committee is one of the longest standing NOSORH committees and addresses a wide range of issues at the national level as well as disseminates information to SORHs on policy issues that impact the delivery of rural health care services in the states.  The committee also works closely with other national partners to further the collective rural health voice in national policy, legislation, and regulation.”

The Policy Committee typically meets on the third Tuesday of every month at 2pm EST for a Washington update, an FORHP update and to focus on our policy goals.  Co-Chair Mark Schoenbaum shares, “The committee includes both new and longtime members, and it’s a good way for members to keep up on policy issues and try their hand at advocacy and policy analysis on behalf of all SORHs.”  For more information about the committee or to join the committee, please contact that Policy Committee Chairs Lisa Davis or Mark Schoenbaum.

In February, the committee discussed their participation in the National Rural Health Association’s Policy Institute and lauded the NRHA effort.  Several SORH on the call reported about their hill visits and a genuine understanding of the need to stop funding cuts to rural facilities and some interest in supporting increased appropriation for State Offices of Rural Health.  NOSORH wants to hear from every SORH or their partners about their ability to reach out to their congressional delegation to continue the efforts that began during the Policy Institute.  A survey was sent to SORH directors to gather this information.  Please respond by March 6th.  Results will be reported in next month’s Branch.

Also discussed on the February Policy Committee call, FORHP provided regulatory updates on CAH/RHC PQRS Participation; CMS 2016 Essential Community Providers List that includes RHCs; CMS updates on State Operations Manual for CAHs, RHCs, FQHCs and other providers; and the need for certification of CAH Necessary Providers.  Click here for more information shared during the call.


Back to March Branch

NOSORH Educational Exchange for Non-Profit SORHs

i Feb 2nd No Comments by

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.


Back to February Branch

Promoting Quality Improvement in RHCs – Crystal Barter

i Jan 20th No Comments by

Promoting Quality Improvement in RHCs – Crystal Barter

Understanding RHC Finances – Janet Lytton

i Oct 27th No Comments by

Understanding RHC Finances – Janet Lytton

Leading Rural Health Clinics Through Practice Transformation (Melinda Merrell and Michele Stanek)

i Sep 3rd No Comments by

Leading Rural Health Clinics Through Practice Transformation (Melinda Merrell and Michele Stanek)

Technical Assistance Provided to Rural Health Clinics (RHC) Survey Results

i Jun 30th No Comments by

Thirty-eight states responded to the SORH Technical Assistance Provided to Rural Health Clinics (RHC) Survey that was conducted in May.  Survey results indicate 48% of SORH occasionally provide services to RHCs and 37% routinely provide technical assistance to RHCs.  The most common form of service is to distribute information to RHCs on a website.  We are in the process of analyzing survey results and plan to release a full report of findings in August 2014.


Back to July Branch