The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is actively working to improve access and quality of health care in rural areas through sustainable health care programs created as a result of network collaboration. HRSA’s Rural Health Network Development Planning Program grant program helps assist in the development of an integrated health care network for consortia that do not have a history of formal collaboration. The goal of the program is to bring together key parts of a rural health care delivery system to improve local capacity and coordination of care. Health care networks can be an effective strategy to help smaller rural health care providers and health care service organizations better align resources and strategies, achieve economies of scale and efficiency, and address challenges more effectively as a group than as single providers.
The Georgia Health Policy Center, in partnership with CRL Consulting, is providing technical assistance to grantees of the Rural Health Network Development Planning program. Over the one-year planning period, technical assistance supports grantees with the primary goal of helping to create a foundation for network’s infrastructure and focus member efforts to address important regional or local community health needs. Ultimately, the goal is for rural health networks to achieve efficiencies; expand access to, coordinate, and improve the quality of essential health care services; and strengthen the rural health care system.