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Rural Hospital Programs

We provide technical assistance and support to rural hospitals.

Rural hospitals are essential. More than half of all hospitals in the United States are in rural areas.

How do our programs work?

  1. We fund states through four grant programs
  2. We provide data, evaluation, and technical assistance to state grantees
  3. We offer technical assistance to hospitals

Which programs support states?

State Offices of Rural Health (SORH) Program

  • Connects rural communities to state and federal resources
  • Develops long-term solutions to rural health problems

This is a nationwide program. Each state has a SORH.

Contact your State Office of Rural Health. exit disclaimer

Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility (Flex) Program

The Flex Program funds states to provide support to Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs). Flex helps CAHs improve:

Small Rural Hospital Improvement Program (SHIP)

SHIP funds state governments to support rural hospitals with 49 beds or fewer. These funds improve operations.

Rural Veterans Health Access Program (RVHAP)

RVHAP helps CAHs and other organizations serve veterans living in rural areas. Veterans get access to mental health, CAHs, and other healthcare services.

Which of your programs provide data, evaluation and technical assistance?

National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH)

  • Membership organization for all 50 SORHs
  • Supports partners at all levels and helps develops leaders

Technical Assistance and Services Center (TASC)

  • For Flex and SHIP grantees, small rural hospitals, and CAHs
  • Offers webinars, videos, group learning and more
  • Helps grantees improve quality, finance, and operations

Rural Quality Improvement Technical Assistance (RQITA)

  • For Flex grantees and CAHs
  • Provides MBQIP data reporting

The Flex Monitoring Team (FMT)

  • For CAH data analysis (quality, financial, and community measures)
  • Evaluates the impact of Flex

Which programs support rural hospitals?

These programs provide free technical assistance to hospitals. We fund organizations to provide technical assistance.

Vulnerable Rural Hospitals Assistance Program (VRHAP)

Vulnerable rural hospitals struggle to maintain healthcare services. VRHAP works to provide continued access to these essential services.

The Center for Optimizing Rural Health exit disclaimer provides technical assistance for this program.

Rural Healthcare Provider Transition Project (RHPTP)

RHPTP helps small, rural hospitals and rural health clinics (RHCs). We teach RHCs to provide value-based care. Value-based care focuses on quality, efficiency, patient experience, and patient safety.

Delta Region Community Health Systems Development (DRCHSD) Program

DRCHSD enhances healthcare delivery in the Mississippi Delta region. 

The National Rural Health Resource Center exit disclaimer provides technical assistance for RHPTP and DRCHSD.

Delta Region Rural Health Workforce Training Program

Trains health professionals in the rural counties and parishes of the Mississippi Delta region.

Training areas include:

  • Medical coding and billing
  • Claims processing
  • Information management
  • How to document clinical information

How does the closing of rural hospitals affect rural communities?

We help rural hospitals closing and provide support to maintain services. 

We identify hospitals that have closed or will close. We help these hospitals maintain services.

How do you know which hospitals will close?

We receive reports from people or learn about them from the media. This allows us to monitor closures in real timeexit disclaimer

How can I share information about hospital closures?

Email the North Carolina Rural Health Research and Policy Analysis Center exit disclaimer at ncrural@unc.edu.

How serious is this issue?

Between 2010 and 2021, 138 rural hospitals closed. Of these, 45 were Critical Access Hospitals. These events received a lot of attention from policy makers, advocates, and the media.

Where can I review research on the closing of rural hospitals?

Visit the Rural Health Research Gateway. exit disclaimer

Contact us

Project Officers for Rural Hospital Programs

Related FORHP programs

Office for the Advancement of Telehealth Programs
Community Based Programs
Policy Research Programs

Additional Resources

The Guide for Rural Health Care Collaboration and Coordination (2019) (PDF - 2MB)
The 21 Century Rural Hospital Chartbook exit disclaimer (PDF - 3.9 MB)

Date Last Reviewed:  November 2021