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Rural Health Information Hub

Rural Libraries and Health Cooperative Agreement

Summary 
  • Need: To increase access to healthcare and social services in rural South Carolina via library systems.
  • Intervention: Pilot sites are hiring social workers and community health workers to provide consultations, case management, and referrals.
  • Results: One library's social worker program currently has 62 active clients, and another library screens an average of 215 residents a month.

Description

The Rural Libraries and Health Cooperative Agreement program in South Carolina provides funding to participating libraries to bring in community health workers, social workers, and telehealth. The funded projects aim to increase access to a variety of services, including behavioral health, health screenings, and reproductive health with the ultimate goal of connecting community members to appropriate services for consistent and sustained preventive care and treatment. The program began with five pilot projects in October 2020 and added four more sites in March 2022.

Services offered

Eight of the nine pilot sites are located in rural counties. The ninth, Charleston County, reaches the rural communities Hollywood, McClellanville, and Edisto Island:

  • Abbeville County: hiring a health liaison to formalize partnerships with a local medical center and church and oversee a telehealth partnership with an internet company
  • Calhoun County: hiring a full-time social worker to make referrals, provide case management, and develop a crisis management plan for the library
  • Charleston County: connecting women to health promotion and disease prevention resources
  • Kershaw County: embedding a social worker to provide consultations and connect library patrons to healthcare providers
  • Lee County: becoming a community hub to connect high-risk underserved community members to healthcare providers
  • Marlboro County: embedding a community health worker and providing COVID-19 education
  • Oconee County: embedding a licensed social worker to provide case management and assistance with housing and childcare referrals
  • Orangeburg County: embedding a social worker, called a Library Resource Associate, to address social determinants of health and connect patrons to healthcare and other services
  • Union County: expanding broadband and hiring a full-time social worker who will work with school districts to better support families of children with disabilities

Results

Highlights include:

  • The Charleston County Public Library System reached over 350 women in the rural Lowcountry.
  • The Kershaw County Library social worker program currently has 62 active clients.
  • The Lee County Public Library screens an average of 215 residents a month.
  • Health liaisons made over 500 referrals to health and social services between October 1, 2020, and September 30, 2021.

Challenges

  • Recruiting and initial hiring of some health liaisons for the library sites
  • Establishing a new workflow to integrate the new health liaison into the library's operations
  • Marketing and promoting the services of the community health hubs in the library to community members
  • Establishing infrastructure to integrate telehealth services in the library sites

Replication

  • Work with a partner from a library system and other trusted community partners and stakeholders to inform program structure and establish together how they will lead and participate throughout the program from conception to delivery.
  • Be flexible in design and implementation to meet needs of community and library capacity.

Contact Information

Alanti M. Price, MPH, Program Manager
SC Center for Rural and Primary Healthcare
Libraries & Health
Alanti.Price@uscmed.sc.edu

Topics
Community and faith-based initiatives
Community health workers
Health disparities
Human services
Population health
Social determinants of health

States served
South Carolina

Date added
May 26, 2022

Suggested citation: Rural Health Information Hub, 2022. Rural Libraries and Health Cooperative Agreement [online]. Rural Health Information Hub. Available at: https://www.ruralhealthinfo.org/project-examples/1099 [Accessed 3 July 2022]


Please contact the models and innovations contact directly for the most complete and current information about this program. Summaries of models and innovations are provided by RHIhub for your convenience. The programs described are not endorsed by RHIhub or by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy. Each rural community should consider whether a particular project or approach is a good match for their community’s needs and capacity. While it is sometimes possible to adapt program components to match your resources, keep in mind that changes to the program design may impact results.