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Rural Health Information Hub

Sustainability Strategies

Ongoing funding and resources are important to sustaining rural community health programs. It may take years before the revenue generated from the program offsets the associated costs, so identifying funding and resources early is critical. Rural health programs sustain program funding through:

  • Contributions from partner organizations
  • Funding from grants and contracts
  • Reimbursement for services

Contributions from partner organizations may include staff time and other resources. Programs may be able to secure grants from foundations or other organizations. If clinical services are provided, it may be possible to bill Medicaid or other insurers for services and/or use a sliding fee scale. Regardless of the financing mechanism, it is critical to monitor trends in Medicaid and insurance payment policy in the event that changes occur.

Sometimes, the organization that is leading program implementation may decide to absorb the costs of the program in order to sustain it. In other cases, the program may transfer ownership of some activities to partners.

Rural health programs should also be conducting other types of activities to sustain their programs, such as:

  • Regular reviews of project performance by the consortium
  • Analysis of costs and benefits to each consortium member
  • Communication of the value of the program to members and other stakeholders
  • Analysis of return on investment and/or assessment of the monetary benefits of the program, see the Rural Health Information Hub's Economic Impact Analysis Tool
  • Continuity of strong leadership for the program
  • Broadcasting successes to key entities and audiences

Resources to Learn More

A Beginner's Guide to Fundraising
This website provides resources on the basic knowledge to get started with raising money for non-profits.
Organization(s): The Fundraising Authority

Program Sustainability Assessment Tool
Provides information on how organizations and programs can improve capacity for sustainability and the ability to maintain programming and its benefits depending on long-term and short-term objectives.
Organization(s): Washington University in St. Louis