Developing a National Network for Rural and Frontier Capacity

NCFC and two partner organizations are working to develop “infrastructure for deployment of capacity building resources to support health providers in frontier and rural areas.” The program is being funded by an $85 thousand grant from the federal Office of Rural Health Policy.

Under the grant, NCFC is partnering with the University on New Mexico Health Sciences Center (UNM-HSC) and the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) to form the National Network for Rural and Frontier Capacity. The Network is collaborating with State Offices of Rural Health in Hawaii, Montana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina to serve as advisers to the project.

The Network was developed in response to a need for organizational capacity building that addresses the unique characteristics of rural and frontier health care service delivery organizations. Frontier and rural health care organizations typically have fewer patients, fewer staff with less specialized roles, and less revenue than their urban counterparts.

As a result, State Offices of Rural Health and other organizations that serve as capacity building consultants to rural health care systems and organizations face challenges in providing support to small frontier and rural health care providers to take advantage of new opportunities in today’s rapidly changing health care environment. The aim of the Network is to develop the tools and infrastructure to assist capacity-building organizations in building their own capacity so that they can better support small rural and frontier health care providers.

In the first phase of the project, the Network will assess the capacity building needs and current resources available to rural and frontier health care providers. Next, the Network will assess the needs and resources available to State Offices of Rural Health to provide the needed capacity building to these health care providers.

Following these assessments, the Network will work with State Offices of Rural Health in Hawaii, Montana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina to develop a Rural Capacity Building Framework and a train-the-capacity builder course. In addition, the Network will develop a strategic plan to sustain itself into the future so that it can implement the framework and capacity builder course.

NCFC is excited to embark on this project with our partners at UNM-HSC and NOSORH!

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