Happy National Rural Health Day: Check out a few of the innovative, powerful programs of rural health networks...
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The Power of Rural Partnerships

Rural Health Networks illustrate the collaborative power or rural

Dear NCHN Members and Friends,

Happy National Rural Health Day! It is a day to celebrate the power of rural. At NCHN, we are proud of the work that you - our members, partners, and friends - do every day to address the health care needs of rural communities.

In celebration of your work, we bring you projects, programs, and success stories shared by health networks from throughout the nation. Whether focused on efficiency, affordability, or coordinated delivery (and all of the above), these stories exemplify the power of collaboration and strength of networks to address significant rural needs.

Cheers to you, our members and friends! We are honored to support health networks across the country and proud to share your stories. Here (in no particular order) are a few of the innovative, powerful programs of rural health networks...

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Indiana Veterans Behavioral Health Network
A story about the formation of a rural health network that provided accessible behavioral health services to veterans and saved veterans over 35,000 driving miles

Through grant funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration, the Indiana Veterans Behavioral Health Network (IVBHN) was formed in 2010. It established a partnership with Affiliated Service Providers of Indiana, Inc. (ASPIN) and the Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis which facilitated the establishment of five rural telehealth connections with Roudebush; thus enabling rural veterans to receive behavioral health counseling services from their VA clinicians at locations within rural community mental health centers. 

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Emergency Rural Health Information Technology Network
The formation of this HIT network enables connections among rural ambulance services & providers using EHR

Louisiana Rural Ambulance Alliance, in collaboration with partners, has formed the E-RHIT Network. With grant funding from HRSA-ORHP, the Alliance was able to buy technology/equipment as well as pay the linkage fee to ImageTrend software for each rural provider in the state.  The services that apply to participate in the grant can then distribute the equipment to each unit in their fleet and use ImageTrend software on a daily basis for electronic patient care records, billing accuracy, and to input data into the statewide patient care registry. As a result of the collection of data in real-time, more complete patient data is available to a broader spectrum of providers. The system has improved charge capture and inventory management for the rural ambulance services. For the first time many of the ambulance services are collecting good data that can be used for process improvement.

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Community Health Worker Training Program
This Northeast Oregon Network program is the second certified CHW training program in the State of Oregon, and the only one to focus specifically on the training of rural and frontier individuals.

In 2012, the State of Oregon established Traditional Health Worker certification legislation the created a scope of work, competencies and certification pathway for Community Health Workers, Peer Mentors, Doulas, Promaturas and other traditional health worker roles. The legislation also established a pathway for community based entities to become state approved training programs. The Northeast Oregon Network was the second certified training program in the State of Oregon, and the only one to focus specifically on the training of rural and frontier individuals. To date, the NEON program has held three training sessions, with 45 CHWs trained and four certified trainers. 38 of these individuals, or 84%, of those trained are working in a practice setting, and are already impacting the provision of services. These 38 CHWs have served over 500 individuals in the last year alone with over 1,200 episodes of care. 29 individuals, or 64%, continue to be involved in the Community of Practice one year post training.

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Another great NEON program: Pathways Community Hub, a community wide, community based care coordination infrastructure that ensures the highest risk individuals in a community are connected to meaningful health and social services that contribute to positive health outcomes. 
Pediatric Developmental Center
With a long history of collaboration, the Northwest Illinois Rural Health Network is expanding services beyond children with Autism Spectrum Disorder to embrace other children with complex needs.

With already successful Autism Program and Early Intervention programs in place, Kreider Services and community agency partners undertook a planning initiative on Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). During that process, they realized that the scope of the project needed to expand beyond children and youth with ASD to embrace all children with complex needs. The network partners applied for and received a grant to create the Pediatric Developmental Center. Its mission is the creation of a quality, coordinated, integrated, affordable and accessible system of care for children and youth who display developmental, emotional, social and/or behavioral concerns and their families who access services in Lee, Ogle, Carroll, and Whiteside Counties or surrounding areas who are in need of child/youth diagnostic services. Through this work, network partners have learned the value of "the network", the strength and effectiveness of working together. Progress has been made in the determination of a physical site, work flow, and other objectives. In addition, training for parents has begun. Clinical and medical assessments have been conducted, and referrals have been initiated. 

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Wisconsin Quality Residency Program
Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative (RWHC) has launched this program to engage new and novice QI Directors in a two-year track of essential QI learning modules, establishing peer and mentoring relationships, and developing effective management and leadership strategies.

RWHC, along with strategic partners; Wisconsin Hospital Association, Bellin Health, and Qualitas Consulting, have developed and launched the “Wisconsin Quality Residency Program”. Modeled after the existing and extremely successful Wisconsin Nurse Residency Program, the Quality Residency Program engages new and novice QI Directors in a two-year track of essential QI learning modules, establishing peer and mentoring relationships, and developing effective management and leadership strategies. The first class was held in the spring of 2014, with 30 quality staff participating. The Quality Residency Program, well-planned and thoroughly documented, will be replicable in other settings – whether in rural health hospital networks, state associations, hospital systems, or even in integrated care networks. We intend that the model be used to “raise all boats” by establishing basic competency training in QI methods, leadership and management skills, and networking support.

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Clinical Rotations in Rural Tennessee
Tennessee Rural Partnership (TRP) collaborated with medical schools and other partners to comprehensively address multiple needs in rural Tennessee and not only met, but exceeded the original goal

In 2010, TRP received a HRSA Network Development grant to provide 48 rotations for medical residents in 14 rural Tennessee counties and concurrently encourage the recruitment of rural physicians by promoting maximum exposure to rural life. The network development activities produced 104 completed rotations. The activities also resulted in additional partnerships, the inclusion of non-physician primary care health providers, and “pipeline” activities involving high school students. Early into the grant activities, it became apparent that exposure needed to be provided for non-physician primary care providers and future providers.  The program was expanded through the Community Health Educational Experiences for Residents and Students (CHEERS) partnership with the Tennessee Primary Care Association (providing rotation experiences for advance practice nursing, medical and physician assistant students). Additional expansion was accomplished through a partnership with another Workforce Network Grantee (St. Thomas Healthcare) to develop the TRP Star Program for high school students. Through partner relationships, TRP now connects clinicians to rural rotations opportunities and ultimately to permanent clinical practice in rural and underserved communities.

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Purchasing Program
Health Future LLC's Purchasing Program recentlyresulted in annualized savings in excess of $2.5M in chemistry/immunoassay and custom procedural tray contracts.

Our Purchasing Program uses multiple experience-based Councils to identify and implement initiatives to help drive costs down in the delivery of health care. Our Council disciplines include CIO, Lab, Pharmacy, Periop and Supply Chain. We often host joint sessions with our Councils as initiatives cross over discipline lines. Our most recent successes have resulted in annualized savings in excess of $2.5M in chemistry/immunoassay and custom procedural tray contracts. We are in the midst of centralizing our IV products (including sets, solution and devices) and estimate a reduction in costs of about 12% (vs. increases in the 20-50% range) as well as an allocated supply in a market that has been challenged to maintain capacity to meet demands.

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View all recent network stories
Want more festivities? Rebecca Davis will be sharing these stories this afternoon @ 4:00 PM ET during NOSORH's lineup of webinars to celebrate NRHD. View the schedule and join in here.

Finally, tell us what you did to Celebrate the Power of Rural today.
ABOUT NCHN
NCHN is a national professional membership organization comprised exclusively of health networks, alliances, and/or network stakeholders dedicated to supporting the success of health networks. Its mission is to support and strengthen health networks through collaboration, networking,  leadership development and education. Network members include some of the of most longstanding and established networks in the country, as well as some of the most recently formed networks. Find out more online at 
www.NCHN.org 
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