CEO Update: Another Year of Rural Successes

CEO Update: Another Year of Rural Successes

It’s hard to believe another year has flown by. I’m grateful for our CRHC Team and the 47 rural counties in Colorado we support. I’m also grateful to share a couple of big successes!

CRHC kicked off a program funded by the Kaiser Foundation, called the Rural Sustainability Program by recruiting 17 RHCs to participate in a Healthy Clinic Assessment and an APGAR assessment. The Healthy Clinic Assessment is an assessment of the basic business operations in the clinic and is used to identify strengths and opportunities for improvement. The CRHC team also conducted the Healthy Clinic Assessment at each RHC, then analyzed the results, and from there developed a report outlining those results to review with the clinic. Improvement gaps will be used to create an action plan that includes timelines, goals and outcomes. CRHC will provide one-on-one tailored technical assistance to help improve the gaps identified. Then a follow-up Healthy Clinic Assessment will be conducted to determine success. The goal will be for the clinic to improve basic business operations to allow greater sustainability and to move into quality programs, such as CRHC’s Colorado Rural Sustainability (CoRS) Network which focuses on chronic care management, reducing readmissions, increasing community engagement and cost savings.

In addition to the Health Clinic Assessment, the clinic will participate in the Community Apgar Program which is designed to assess readiness for recruitment of providers. This is a nationally renowned, research-driven program. The research findings underscore the specific community factors that play a key role in the recruitment and retention of providers to rural healthcare settings and help organize these community factors for action. The goals are to identify individual community strengths and unique opportunities for improvement in clinics related to recruiting and retaining physicians and understand the patterns impacting physician supply. CRHC travelled to the clinics to do the assessment with key staff, including leadership, and lead primary care providers. The data was analyzed and benchmarked against national data. This data will be used to create a presentation showing overall trends and comparing against aggregated data of all participating RHCs. Clinics will work with their leadership, board, community, or any other key partners in recruitment and then work with CRHC to develop workforce strategies that work for their community and clinic. Work will continue with key clinic staff to develop solutions and an action plan which will strengthen each facility’s own recruitment and retention plans. Both efforts work in tandem to form a strategic roadmap for rural clinics’ sustainability.

CRHC continued to lead the Rural Connectivity Program through funding from OeHI/HCPF in collaboration with CCMCN, Contexture, and QHN. CRHC continued to advocate to OeHI/HCPF on the need for funding for rural facilities and as a result, an appropriations bill went out for rulemaking in September/October for funding for $100,000 for CAHs and $20,000 for RHCs who fully participate in the Rural Connectivity Program. There are well over 20 dashboards available to rural facilities that include data from CIIS, HIEs, and Claims (APCD). Three key dashboards have been released this fall including Diabetes, Cancer, and Outmigration. CRHC has hired a team of QI Specialists to assist with quality improvement related to this data. CRHC is also making connections with the data between the CCSP Program and the Rural Connectivity Program to empower rural facilities to increase the cancer screening rates for rural communities. Additionally, the Outmigration Report should provide invaluable information for our rural facilities. Through use of this information, rural facilities can decrease outmigration and additional funding could be brought into our rural facilities decreasing the financial deficit and enabling more services.

CRHC works daily to achieve rural sustainability and we know these efforts are contributing to that goal! Cheers to another amazing year and see you in 2024!


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