The Health Service Research Administration’s Federal Office of Rural Health Policy’s Rural Health Care Coordination Network Partnership Program supports the development of rural health networks that focus on improving care coordination for certain chronic conditions, including diabetes, congestive heart failure, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Care coordination involves organizing patient care activities and sharing of information among multiple providers and stakeholders involved in a patient’s care, with the ultimate goal of delivering safer and more effective care. In rural settings, where access to care is more challenging, care coordination can involve expanding local workforce capacity for care coordination (e.g., training of community health workers), co-locating behavioral and primary health care services, developing patient-centered medical homes or accountable care organizations, linking clinical and community-based supports, and deploying telehealth systems.
The Georgia Health Policy Center (GHPC) provides technical assistance to the Care Coordination grantees as they work to strengthen their regional networks and improve chronic disease outcomes. GHPC has experience providing third-party facilitation to rural health partnerships, maintaining impartiality while understanding the dynamics and substantive issues that are key to the success of rural health initiatives. GHPC’s technical assistance is focused on helping communities develop a more strategic (“big picture”) mindset to program implementation that will ultimately enhance the sustainability of programs striving to improve the health of rural residents.