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Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) Models and Innovations

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

Safety Net Medical Home Initiative
Updated/reviewed October 2017
  • Need: To help healthcare providers serving underserved and vulnerable populations become patient-centered medical homes (PCMH).
  • Intervention: A 5-year project was launched to develop a replicable model for practice transformation for safety net providers, including rural practices.
  • Results: Eighty-three percent of participating safety net clinics earned state or national PCMH recognition as of September, 2013.
ICAHN External Peer Review Network
Updated/reviewed August 2017
  • Need: Critical access hospitals (CAHs) in rural Illinois required an external mechanism for peer review.
  • Intervention: Using physicians from network member hospitals, a CAH network implemented a peer review process.
  • Results: Staff peer reviews also improved healthcare quality within the CAH network.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Indiana Statewide Rural Health Network (InSRHN)
Updated/reviewed July 2017
  • Need: To improve sustainability and financial viability for rural healthcare providers throughout Indiana.
  • Intervention: A network of rural healthcare providers for Critical Access and other hospitals in Indiana who are dedicated to improving their ability to deliver efficient and high-quality healthcare for their rural residents.
  • Results: The network has been leveraged to increase access to resources, coordinate services, and improve and expand healthcare access.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Upper Peninsula Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee
Updated/reviewed July 2017
  • Need: Healthcare entities in the Upper Peninsula region of Michigan were using different formularies, missing opportunities for group purchasing power and consistent care.
  • Intervention: The Upper Peninsula Health Plan and the Upper Peninsula Health Care Network developed a regional partnership for managing prescription costs and quality pharmaceuticals in rural, upper Michigan.
  • Results: More informed pharmaceutical decisions and lowered pharmaceutical costs for Upper Peninsula Health Plan member organizations.
Leadership Development Program
Updated/reviewed June 2017
  • Need: Reasonably-priced leadership education was needed for professional development of healthcare organization managers in southeastern Idaho and western Wyoming.
  • Intervention: Creation of a health network providing leadership training opportunities for member hospitals.
  • Results: Increased leadership and managerial quality, and decreased professional development costs for rural hospitals of southeastern Idaho and western Wyoming.
Wisconsin Quality Residency Program
Updated/reviewed July 2016
  • Need: To prepare quality improvement leaders for their roles in small rural hospitals or Critical Access Hospitals.
  • Intervention: A program to teach quality improvement methods, leadership and management skills, and networking support to hospital quality leaders.
  • Results: In the program's first year, it has enrolled 38 participants.
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.

Last Updated: 10/31/2017