According to the National Rural Health Association, more than 75 rural hospitals have closed since 2010, with 673 at risk of meeting the same fate. That could leave up to 11.7 million people with no where to turn. Not only will patients be in jeopardy, but regional economies may suffer as well. These facilities provide a livelihood for community members. Their absence will not only result in direct job loss, but potential employers may be reluctant to relocate to areas without adequate health care. This is a pressing dilemma for local governments, as many rural hospitals are run by government entities, particularly counties. While far from a complete solution to the problem, MultiPlan, Inc. is offering Rural Health Outreach grants to help hospitals offer new services and/or reach new populations.
Rural Health Outreach Grants
MultiPlan, Inc. seeks to help rural hospitals develop better relationships with their communities in order to better meet residents' needs. A rural area is defined as having a population of less than 1,000 per square mile. Applicants can either come up with unique ideas of their own or replicate what other grantees have done, but all projects must demonstrate that either a new population will be served or new services will be offered to existing populations. Here are some selected examples of previous winners:
- Penn Highlands Brookville Hospital in Brookville, PA, established a new primary health clinic to provide comprehensive routine care to Jefferson County.
- Howard Memorial Hospital in Nashville, AR, received a grant for a new geriatric facility specializing in behavioral health needs and therapy.
- North Texas Medical Center in Gainesville, TX, submitted plans for a new Pediatric Therapy Program.
- Northern Cochise Community Hospital in Wilcox, AZ, will be the only hospital within 90 miles that has a Pediatric Prepared Emergency Care Certification.
- Hill County Hospital in Fredericksburg, TX, expanded Red in Fred, a program to increase access to free heart health screenings for women.
Applying for Rural Health Outreach Grants
Eligible applicants are local governments, nonprofits, and the private sector. They must also provide acute care and participate in at least one of the following networks of the funding agency: PHCS, MultiPlan, Beech Street, HealthEOS, Texas True Choice, IHP, HMN, AMN, or RAN. The deadline is May 19, 2017.