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Healthcare Access in Rural Communities – 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.

Other Project Examples

funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Something to Smile About: Preventive Dental Care for Garrett County
Updated/reviewed July 2020
  • Need: In rural Garrett County, Maryland, a 1998 community survey found that 41% of kindergarten students had untreated dental decay, and many dentists in the area were not willing to see patients with medical assistance or state health insurance plans.
  • Intervention: In 1999, the Garrett County Health Department started the Something to Smile About program to improve access to dental care and help dentists negotiate higher reimbursement rates from managed care organizations.
  • Results: The program established a community dental clinic, provided care to thousands of individuals, and negotiated 30% higher rates for dental service reimbursement.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Ohio Northern University's HealthWise Mobile Outreach Program
Updated/reviewed July 2019
  • Need: Meeting both advanced practice pharmacy student education needs and patient healthcare needs in a nearby rural/underserved area.
  • Intervention: With support from multiple organizations, students in the Ohio Northern University's College of Pharmacy program use a motor coach to deliver a wide range of healthcare services during scheduled outreach visits.
  • Results: In the program's first two years, point-of-care screening, immunizations, and chronic disease prevention and management education have been provided to 800+ Hardin County, Ohio, residents.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy The Bridge Program
Updated/reviewed November 2018
  • Need: Access to primary medical, dental, and mental health services for rural Appalachia Kentuckians.
  • Intervention: Community Health Workers provide outreach, education, navigation, and care coordination services to 5 counties in the Western Appalachian area of Kentucky through The Bridge Program.
  • Results: Emergency room visits have decreased throughout the course of the program and referrals to healthcare services have increased. Increases in self-efficacy and decreases in A1C levels have reached statistical significance.

Last Updated: 7/20/2020