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Rural Public Health Agencies 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.

Partners in Health and Wholeness
Updated/reviewed October 2018
  • Need: To lessen the impact of chronic disease and associated complications in North Carolina.
  • Intervention: Partners in Health and Wholeness, an initiative of the NC Council of Churches, is a faith-based program that integrates healthy living within congregations while offering financial support to launch or expand health initiatives.
  • Results: Since its founding in 2009, over 500 churches have become a part of the PHW, many in rural areas, and over 375 mini-grants have been awarded to congregations.
San Luis Valley Public Health Partnership
Added September 2018
  • Need: Public health departments in Colorado's rural San Luis Valley region desired to share public health services to improve health outcomes in the region.
  • Intervention: Six counties joined in a public health cross-jurisdictional sharing arrangement. The partnership has served as a forum for sharing and evaluating opportunities to improve health access and core public health services.
  • Results: The partnership has enabled health departments to share expertise and develop regional projects to provide a broader range of public health services.
ADPH Telehealth Program
Updated/reviewed August 2018
  • Need: To increase access to healthcare throughout Alabama.
  • Intervention: The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) has created telehealth communications at county health departments.
  • Results: ADPH telehealth services are currently available in 48 of 66 county health departments.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Public Health Solutions ACA Outreach and Education Project
Updated/reviewed August 2018
  • Need: To help inform rural residents in southeast Nebraska about their health insurance options under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
  • Intervention: A public health department provided outreach and enrollment assistance and worked with other key community organizations to help get clients the information and services they need.
  • Results: 525 individuals were reached at 22 outreach events: 123 individuals received general education on the ACA, 25 received enrollment assistance, and 19 had an eligibility determination.
TelePrEP
Added August 2018
  • Need: To prevent new cases of HIV in rural Iowa.
  • Intervention: TelePrEP provides preventive care via telehealth and prescription delivery.
  • Results: 90 patients have been enrolled.
HCC of Rural Missouri's Project Connect Event
Added January 2018
  • Need: To expand public health and human services to adults living in rural West Central Missouri.
  • Intervention: The Health Care Collaborative of Rural Missouri's Network organizes Project Connect events, a 1-day public health event that offers free public health and human services to underserved adults.
  • Results: In 2017 alone, Project Connect events provided a total of 6,880 incidents of services to guests, a $232,000 value.
Genesee and Orleans County Cross Jurisdictional Sharing Project (GO Health)
Added December 2017
  • Need: Two rural upstate New York counties struggled to provide necessary public health leadership and services amid a fluid environment with rising costs and funding limitations.
  • Intervention: The Genesee County and Orleans County health departments began a cross jurisdictional sharing relationship that integrated select functions and services, beginning with sharing a director and deputy director.
  • Results: By sharing personnel and functions, management personnel costs have been cut in half and both counties have saved over $1 million for the counties combined.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Nebraska Association of Local Health Directors ACA Outreach and Education Project
Updated/reviewed December 2017
  • Need: To help rural Nebraska local health departments (LHDs) learn about the Affordable Care Act so they can help inform their communities about health insurance options under the ACA.
  • Intervention: In 2014-2016 via their statewide association, Nebraska LHDs received education online and by webinar on the ACA along with support to conduct outreach activities using health literacy strategies.
  • Results: During initial activity, all eligible Nebraska rural member LHDs (16) conducted outreach events. 912 participants attended, with 334 receiving one-on-one help.
Smiles for Life
Updated/reviewed November 2017
  • Need: Oral healthcare for low-income adults and children unable to obtain dental care in the Mid-Ohio Valley of West Virginia.
  • Intervention: Public health dental hygienists act as gatekeepers, screening low-income clients and placing them with area dental providers who volunteer, from their private practices, to provide most-needed dental treatment.
  • Results: Reduces the number of emergency department visits for dental pain and infections and provides a safety net for those unable to afford dental treatment.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Visiting School Nurse Program
Updated/reviewed August 2017
  • Need: Students in rural communities lacked access to healthcare services, resulting in poor school performance.
  • Intervention: The Visiting School Nurse program was created to improve access to health care for 6,000 students in Fulton County, Illinois.
  • Results: After the three years of the grant-funded program, the program continues to serve one school district and staff with a variety of health services and educational campaigns.
Eagle County Community Paramedic
Updated/reviewed February 2017
  • Need: Rural areas nationwide have shortages of primary care providers and home health programs.
  • Intervention: Eagle County Paramedic Services is utilizing community paramedics in the provision of non-acute home care and assistance with immunizations and screenings in rural areas where it is difficult for these services to be accessed.
  • Results: The pilot program was featured at the 2010 International Roundtable on Community Paramedicine. After 18 months of implementing the program, a net total of $288,028 in healthcare costs was saved.

Last Updated: 10/15/2018