In fiscal year 2020, the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy funded 10 rural health awardees through the Rural Health Care Coordination Program. The purpose of this program is to support rural health consortiums and networks aiming to improve access, delivery, and quality of care through application of care coordination strategies in rural communities. Awardees will focus on four key strategies: collaboration, leadership and workforce, improved outcomes, and sustainability.
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 internal processes and 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. The technical assistance for this program has a strong focus on data collection, sharing and utilization to support care coordination initiatives; partnership development and alignment with value-based care initiatives that will sustain grant-funded efforts in the long-term.