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Rural Project Examples: Uninsured and underinsured

Effective Examples

funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Northern Dental Access Center Patient Support and Outreach Program
Updated/reviewed January 2020
  • Need: To connect low-income people in rural northwest Minnesota to dental care and support services in order to address barriers to care.
  • Intervention: Partners work together to provide patient transportation, care coordination, and insurance navigation and enrollment.
  • Results: Patients accessing support services are more likely to complete dental treatment. Over 1,000 people a year have been assisted with Medicaid enrollment, and reported use of the emergency department for dental pain has been reduced.
Medical Legal Partnership of Southern Illinois
Updated/reviewed June 2019
  • Need: Legal barriers often prevent economically disadvantaged people in Southern Illinois from obtaining positive health outcomes despite receiving medical care.
  • Intervention: The Medical Legal Partnership of Southern Illinois (MLPSI) was formed to create a system where medical providers can refer patients in need of legal assistance to local attorneys.
  • Results: Over 4,300 patients have utilized MLPSI since its founding in 2002. The program has relieved over $8.1 million in medical debt for both hospitals and patients.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy One Community Health's Wellness Programs
Updated/reviewed October 2017
  • Need: Difficulties obtaining healthcare access to treat diabetes and obesity for low-income and Spanish-speaking residents of Oregon and Washington's Columbia River Gorge area.
  • Intervention: A local healthcare facility developed wellness programs using bilingual community health workers to provide education and support that improves diets, physical activity, and teaches stress management.
  • Results: Many participants in the wellness programs have maintained or lost weight and have seen reductions in their cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels. Vegetable vouchers, cooking classes, and budgeting education has also helped patients afford healthy food.

Promising Examples

funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Noble County Outreach Project
Updated/reviewed October 2020
  • Need: To help enroll and retain children and their families in health insurance in Noble County, Indiana.
  • Intervention: A school-based health insurance outreach project focused on connecting children to health insurance.
  • Results: More than 600 individuals enrolled in health insurance.

Other Project Examples

Smiles for Life
Updated/reviewed November 2020
  • Need: Oral healthcare for low-income adults and children unable to obtain dental care in the Mid-Ohio Valley of West Virginia.
  • Intervention: Public health dental hygienists act as gatekeepers, screening low-income clients and placing them with area dental providers who volunteer from their private practices to provide needed dental treatment.
  • Results: Reduces the number of emergency department visits for dental pain and infections and provides a safety net for those unable to afford dental treatment.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Health Right ACA Outreach and Education Project
Updated/reviewed September 2020
  • Need: To help western Maryland residents learn about their health insurance options under the Affordable Care Act and connect to enrollment specialists.
  • Intervention: A dental safety net provider used existing activities and networks to reach the uninsured, with work done by existing staff plus a temporary Outreach and Education Coordinator.
  • Results: Outreach to 1,639 individuals over a 7-month period, with 602 referred to a navigator and 202 referred for Medicaid enrollment.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Miles for Smiles Mobile Dental Unit
Updated/reviewed September 2020
  • Need: Dental care access for children in low-income families living in a 7-county region of southwest Missouri.
  • Intervention: A mobile dental unit was created to expand dental care access.
  • Results: The Miles for Smiles mobile dental clinic provides comprehensive dental care to children throughout the 7-county region
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy NEON Pathways Community Hub
Updated/reviewed July 2020
  • Need: Connect individuals to services that address health barriers.
  • Intervention: A pay-for-outcomes model utilizing Community Health Workers who help provide community members with tools to address needs associated with improving health.
  • Results: Trained Community Health Workers help patients navigate the healthcare and social service systems and provide education about community healthcare resources.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Something to Smile About: Preventive Dental Care for Garrett County
Updated/reviewed July 2020
  • Need: In rural Garrett County, Maryland, a 1998 community survey found that 41% of kindergarten students had untreated dental decay, and many dentists in the area were not willing to see patients with medical assistance or state health insurance plans.
  • Intervention: In 1999, the Garrett County Health Department started the Something to Smile About program to improve access to dental care and help dentists negotiate higher reimbursement rates from managed care organizations.
  • Results: The program established a community dental clinic, provided care to thousands of individuals, and negotiated 30% higher rates for dental service reimbursement.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Oral Health Outreach Program
Updated/reviewed October 2019
  • Need: Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease among children in the United States.
  • Intervention: The Eastern Shore Area Health Education Center provides Oral Health education through the "Tooth Fairy's Helper" to elementary-aged children along the Eastern Shore of Maryland.
  • Results: Over 35,000 children have received oral health education through presentations in schools since 2006.