Supporting Rural Health Care: Program Provides Workshops, Site Visits

The Alpha Center for Health Planning, Inc., in Washington (now called AcademyHealth), a nonprofit policy institute, offered technical assistance to states and facilities participating in a federal program designed to keep struggling rural hospitals open.

In an effort to keep financially troubled rural hospitals open, Congress established the Federal Essential Access Community Hospital/Rural Primary Care Hospital Program in 1989 with the goal of maintaining access to health care services in areas where a traditional full-service hospital was no longer sustainable. The program funded seven states.

Key Results

  • The Alpha Center:

    • Provided a series of workshops, site visits, and written technical assistance materials to state and local leaders involved with implementing this new model.
    • Conducted a national invitational conference, "Health Care Reform in Rural Areas," co-sponsored by RWJF and the Arkansas Department of Health and held in Little Rock, Ark.
    • Produced a number of publications about rural health policy issues.
    • Briefed state and federal officials.
    • Made recommendations for the next generation of limited-service rural hospitals.