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Georgia Models and Innovations

These stories feature model programs and successful rural projects that can serve as a source of ideas. Some of the projects or programs may no longer be active. Read about the criteria and evidence-base for programs included.

Effective Examples

Strong African American Families-Teen (SAAF-T)
Updated/reviewed April 2017
  • Need: There is a lack of interventions that addresses teenager behavioral problems, particularly for rural African American adolescents.
  • Intervention: Rural, locally trained leaders administered five 2-hour meetings for teenagers and their primary caregivers. Trainings focused on reducing risks that prevent positive development, specifically sexual risk-taking that can lead to HIV and other STIs.
  • Results: Teens reported reduced conduct problems, depressive symptoms, and substance abuse. Families were strengthened, and SAAF-T reduced unprotected intercourse and increased condom efficacy.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Perinatal Health Partners Southeast Georgia
Updated/reviewed February 2017
  • Need: In the 11 rural southeast Georgia counties, high-risk pregnant women potentially face adverse birth outcomes, including maternal or infant mortality, low birthweight, very low birthweight, or other medical or developmental problems.
  • Intervention: An in-home nursing case management program for high-risk pregnant women in order to maximize pregnancy outcomes for mothers and their newborns.
  • Results: Mothers carry their babies longer and the babies are larger when born, leading to improved health outcomes.
Salud es Vida Cervical Cancer Education
Updated/reviewed January 2017
  • Need: Hispanic women have the highest incidence rates of cervical cancer among any ethnicity in the United States.
  • Intervention: The development of a lay health worker (promotora) curriculum that provides information on cervical cancer, HPV, and the HPV vaccine to Hispanic farmworker women living in rural southern Georgia.
  • Results: Significant increases in post-test scores relating to cervical cancer knowledge and increases in positive self-efficacy among promotoras.

Promising Examples

funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Sweet Dreams
Updated/reviewed January 2017
  • Need: To prevent and control Type 2 diabetes in rural, south central Georgia.
  • Intervention: Irwin County Board of Health developed Sweet Dreams to educate residents about the damaging effects of Type 2 diabetes and how to manage it.
  • Results: Participants have been able to improve their weight, body mass index, blood pressure, and hemoglobin A1C levels throughout the program.
Patient Care Connect
Added September 2016
  • Need: Cancer patients living in the Deep South encounter multiple barriers in accessing regular cancer treatment.
  • Intervention: The University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center developed a program that uses patient navigators to support and direct patients to appropriate resources to overcome barriers to accessing care.
  • Results: The program has become a model for improving cancer care quality, decreasing unnecessary utilization (ER visits and hospitalizations), removing barriers to care, and enhancing patient satisfaction.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Project ADEPT (Applied Diabetes Education Program using Telehealth)
Added September 2015
  • Need: To provide diabetes education services to the people of rural southeast Georgia.
  • Intervention: A telehealth diabetes education program was implemented in the Georgia counties of Candler, Emanuel, Tattnall, and Toombs.
  • Results: Participants showed improved control of diabetes and BMI.

Other Project Examples

Piedmont Mountainside Hospital's Freestanding Emergency Department
Added December 2017
  • Need: The North Georgia Medical Center (NGMC) of Ellijay, Georgia had been losing money and patients. Many residents living in Ellijay were seeking hospital care elsewhere, leaving NGMC treating an average of only 6 patients in the year prior to closing their doors in 2016.
  • Intervention: With approval from the state, Piedmont Mountainside Hospital (PMH) leased the space from NGMC and opened the state's first freestanding emergency department. Medical services were again made available for patients in Ellijay and surrounding areas.
  • Results: Within the first 6 months of operation, over 5,000 emergency visits were made to the freestanding ED, an average of 30 patients per day.
Stratus Healthcare Network
Updated/reviewed July 2017
  • Need: Rural Georgia hospitals experiencing the crush of expenses in addition to limited investment capital for resources.
  • Intervention: Hospitals, health care systems, and physicians came together to create an alliance of healthcare providers that focused on value-based healthcare delivery, rather than fee-for-service care, with the goal of developing a clinically integrated network.
  • Results: Now sharing resources and best practices, Stratus Network members are working to reduce excessive or duplicate services, reduce costs of services, and show performance improvements.
Telehealth Collaborative Care
Added July 2017
  • Need: To increase access to specialty care for rural veterans with HIV.
  • Intervention: The Telehealth Collaborative Care (TCC) study connects these patients with HIV specialists via telehealth and works to create shared care relationships with primary care teams in rural areas.
  • Results: TCC provides HIV specialty care to 600 rural veterans in Georgia and Texas.
Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program (FVRx)
Updated/reviewed April 2017
  • Need: A tangible way for providers to increase patients' access to affordable healthy food.
  • Intervention: With the Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program, providers prescribe vouchers for patients to redeem for fruits and vegetables at local healthy food retailers.
  • Results: Over 10,000 people have received FVRx prescriptions in rural and urban areas across 10 states.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Floyd County Dental Clinic
Updated/reviewed January 2017
  • Need: Oral healthcare for people with lower incomes or those who lack insurance in rural northwest Georgia, where few dentists accept Medicaid patients.
  • Intervention: A dental clinic that accepts Medicaid, PeachCare (Georgia's low income child health insurance program), and private pay for service was started through collaboration of a local medical center, dental college, and county health department.
  • Results: From 2015-2016, the Floyd Dental Clinic made a higher quality of oral health possible for 3,145 low-income patients.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Meadows Diabetes Education Program
Updated/reviewed September 2016
  • Need: To provide diabetes care and education services to those in rural, southeast Georgia.
  • Intervention: Diabetes outreach screening, education, and clinical care services were provided to participants in Toombs, Tattnall, and Montgomery counties.
  • Results: Patients successfully learned self-management skills to lower their blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Rural Health Partnership of North Central Florida’s CommunityHealth IT Network
Added February 2016
  • Need: Rural communities in Florida often lack enough financial and technical support to fully implement health information technology (HIT) within their healthcare practices.
  • Intervention: The Rural Health Partnership of North Central Florida founded an organization that helps rural providers understand the benefits, risks, and opportunities of HIT while providing the means to invest in HIT programs.
  • Results: Through the efforts of CommunityHealth IT, 65% of rural hospitals served have achieved Meaningful Use.

Last Updated: 12/5/2017