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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.

funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Indiana Statewide Rural Health Network (InSRHN)
Updated/reviewed July 2018
  • 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.
The Minnesota Integrative Behavioral Health Program
Added June 2018
  • Need: Out of 79 Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) surveyed in Minnesota in 2015, behavioral health was the most frequently cited service requested.
  • Intervention: In response, Rural Health Innovations launched the Minnesota Integrative Behavioral Health Program. This initiative engages representatives across all sectors in health integration between hospital, primary care, and community services.
  • Results: Strategy sessions have resulted in the creation of resource directories to improve care coordination, evaluation measurements to document results, and an overall better understanding of integrative care challenges.
RS3 – Rural Montana Surgical Support System
Added November 2017
  • Need: Providing more in-state surgical care options for Montana patients.
  • Intervention: A system to keep surgical procedures in Critical Access Hospitals or provide seamless engagement of Montana's available advanced surgical expertise when needed.
  • Results: Increased surgical care options, with a side benefit of recruiting young surgeons to rural/frontier Montana.
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 Upper Peninsula Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee
Updated/reviewed July 2017
  • Need: Healthcare entities in the Upper Peninsula region of Michigan were using different medication 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.

Last Updated: 7/17/2018