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Rural Health Information Hub

Importance of Sustainability Planning

A sustainability plan describes strategies to continue the services integration program. Sustainability can involve maintaining program services, staff members, and relationships among participating organizations. Services integration programs will need to tailor sustainability plans to their specific needs and resources.

Key issues to consider when planning for sustainability include:

  • Planning for the continued engagement of partners and stakeholders
  • Obtaining input and buy-in from partners and stakeholders
  • Demonstrating the impact of the program by measuring cost-savings or other metrics associated with services integration activities
  • Sharing information about outcomes with participants and other key stakeholders
  • Developing an organizational plan to leverage human, financial, and in-kind resources
  • Defining short-term and long-term funding and/or reimbursement options

In addition to sustainability plans, rural services integration programs may need a risk management plan to help prepare for unexpected events, such as the loss of a partner or changes in federal and state policies.

The Rural Health Information Hub provides a list of resources to help rural organizations plan for sustainability.

Resources to Learn More

Creating an Effective Plan for Your Sustainability Efforts
This website provides a guide for sustainability planning.
Author(s): Willard, M.
Organization(s): Axis Performance Advisors

Developing a Plan for Financial Sustainability
This toolkit describes the key elements involved in developing a plan for financial sustainability, and provides lessons that The Community Tool Box has learned from its own experiences.
Organization(s): The Community Tool Box

Sample Sustainability Action Plan
This document provides an example of a sustainability action plan, including action steps and timeline.
Author(s): Voll, M.
Organization(s): Consulting Services for Community Solutions

A Sustainability Planning Guide for Healthy Communities
This guide provides a comprehensive plan for sustaining public health efforts in communities.
Organization(s): Healthy Communities Program
Date: 2/2012