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Washington 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.

Evidence-Based Examples

Women to Women Online Support Network
Updated/reviewed August 2017
  • Need: Women living in rural areas with chronic illness often face little social support, leading to increased rates of depression and stress
  • Intervention: Women to Women offered rural women with chronic conditions social support networks via telecommunication
  • Results: WTW intervention participants experienced positive increases in self-esteem, social support, and empowerment over the control group

Effective Examples

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.
Rural Telemental Health (RTMH) Program
Added July 2016
  • Need: To provide high-quality mental healthcare to rural veterans.
  • Intervention: The Rural Telemental Health (RTMH) program, stationed at the Portland VA Medical Center, reaches rural veterans in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington via telehealth.
  • Results: From 2010 to 2013, 1,754 veterans received diagnoses, therapy, medication management, and other mental health services.

Promising Examples

Kitsap Mental Health Services: Race to Health!
Added August 2017
  • Need: To improve the physical health of individuals seeking mental healthcare.
  • Intervention: Race to Health! in Washington integrates mental health, substance use disorder treatment, and primary care for individuals with severe mental illness.
  • Results: Race to Health! helps reduce emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and costs (a total savings of $5,144,000 for Medicare patients).

Other Project Examples

funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy The Community Care Alliance
Updated/reviewed November 2017
  • Need: Rural healthcare networks in Colorado and Washington felt the urgency to help their communities improve population health with better care at lower cost.
  • Intervention: The Community Care Alliance was formed to specifically serve Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), employer groups, and other patient populations. Benefits for participants include quality improvement and practice transformation activities, comprehensive care coordination, outcomes measurement with quality reporting and data extraction, and analytics.
  • Results: A total of 43 organizational members have received educational, networking, and technical assistance by being a part of the Alliance. Over 22,000 Medicare beneficiaries have been introduced to care coordination, leading to a decrease in emergency room visits, an increase in overall health, and lower medical costs.
Rural Resources Diner’s Choice Program
Updated/reviewed October 2017
  • Need: Many older adults are lacking proper nutrition because of an inability to prepare food, lack of financial resources, depression due to social isolation, or general frailty associated with aging.
  • Intervention: The Diner's Choice meal program provides 12 coupons each month to older adults for local restaurants in two rural counties in Washington.
  • Results: Older adults in Pend Oreille and Stevens counties in Washington receive much-needed nutrition and social interaction, leading to healthier lives.
funded by the Health Resources Services Administration Regional Initiatives in Dental Education (RIDE)
Updated/reviewed August 2017
  • Need: Address oral health disparities in Washington’s rural and underserved communities.
  • Intervention: The University of Washington School of Dentistry developed the Regional Initiatives in Dental Education (RIDE) program preparing dentists for practice in rural and underserved areas.
  • Results: Since the first graduating cohort in 2012, more than 70% of RIDE graduates are practicing in rural and underserved areas.
Island Hospital’s Psychiatry & Behavioral Health Clinic
Updated/reviewed July 2017
  • Need: Anacortes of Washington State, has limited access to mental healthcare services. In addition, psychiatric or behavioral health services were sparse for students in the Anacortes School District.
  • Intervention: Island Hospital opened a Psychiatry & Behavioral Health Clinic that serves patients on their campus and at schools located in the Anacortes School District.
  • Results: Over 2,500 mental health and social work appointments have been facilitated at Anacortes's public schools. Thousands more appointments have been provided at the clinic to meet the mental health needs of the community.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Promotores at Family Health Centers
Updated/reviewed July 2017
  • Need: Migrant workers in need of healthcare in Okanogan County, Washington
  • Intervention: A promotora program which educates and helps the migrant and Latino communities access culturally- and linguistically-appropriate healthcare
  • Results: Provided health education so migrant workers were better educated about their health and accessing healthcare resources
Columbia Gorge Collective Impact Health Specialist
Added June 2017
  • Need: To address the specific health needs of north central Oregon and south central Washington.
  • Intervention: The Collective Impact Health Specialist identifies community needs, convenes community partners to design initiatives that address those needs, and secures funding for health-related initiatives.
  • Results: Thanks to the CIHS, the Columbia Gorge region has received more than $5 million in funding in 3 years.
Start Healthy, Start Now
Updated/reviewed April 2017
  • Need: Rural childcare providers have limited resources to learn about mental and physical health promotion and obesity prevention
  • Intervention: A free health promotion training program for rural childcare providers
  • Results: Rural childcare providers are better prepared to impact children's health and well-being.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy EMS Live@Nite
Updated/reviewed July 2016
  • Need: 80% of rural EMS providers are volunteers. Distance, time, and cost make it difficult for these volunteers to attend continuing education and maintain certification.
  • Intervention: Inland Northwest Health Services delivers free online training to rural EMS providers via video teleconferencing.
  • Results: The EMS Live@Nite program provides free, monthly training to rural EMS providers in the northwestern part of the United States. The Program is available through live video conferencing from certified locations in rural communities.
Level One Cardiac Care and Partnership
Updated/reviewed March 2016
  • Need: Fast diagnosis and stabilization in order to survive a cardiac emergency in the rural areas around Davenport, Washington.
  • Intervention: Lincoln Hospital is prepared to quickly assess needs, deliver medications, and air transport heart attack patients to Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane, Washington.
  • Results: Increased survival rates and other quality of life outcomes for heart attack patients from the rural areas of Lincoln County, Washington.
funded by the Health Resources Services Administration Targeted Rural Underserved Track (TRUST) Program
Updated/reviewed December 2015
  • Need: There is a shortage of rural physicians in the Northwestern United States.
  • Intervention: University of Washington medical students are receiving training through the TRUST program in rural, underserved communities across a five-state radius.
  • Results: Long-lasting connections have been formed among regional and underserved communities, medical students, and rural health professionals, producing more rural physicians as a result.

Last Updated: 11/21/2017