Rural Hospital Flexibility Program

  • Scott, Ernie (PI)
  • Combs, Kayla (CoI)

Grants and Contracts Details


The Kentucky Rural Hospital Flexibility Program (KRHFP) operates under the auspice of the Kentucky Office of Rural Health (KORH), which is housed within the University of Kentucky Center for Excellence in Rural Health (UKCERH) located in rural Hazard, Kentucky. The vision of the KRHFP is to help sustain access to appropriate healthcare services of high quality in rural communities by strengthening and improving the rural healthcare infrastructure. Since the inception of the KRHFP in 1999, the program has partnered with the Kentucky Hospital Association and together they hold annual statewide stakeholders meetings and periodic on-site visits to consult with hospital administrators and staff on the most appropriate utilization of grant funds. The KRHFP is committed to working with partners who share the same activities and values. The KRHFP partners include but are not limited to: Kentucky Hospital Association, Kentucky Primary Care Association, Kentucky Department of Public Health, Kentucky Area Health Education Centers, Kentucky Board of Emergency Medical Services, Kentucky Rural Health Association, Kentucky Rural Health Works many other agencies and institutions across the state and nation. By allowing flexibility in providing services, in staffing levels and providing Medicare payment on a reasonable cost basis, the Critical Access Hospital designation has enabled many rural hospitals to continue to meet the health needs of local residents. Through the KRHFP Conversion Program, a total of 32 rural hospitals have converted to critical access certification and formalized 32 referral networks. The KRHFP will continue to provide support to the states 29 existing CAHs and other small rural providers. The KRHFP will identify, encourage and assist Kentucky’s lower performing CAHs to identify strategies to improve their financial and operational performance. Poverty and unemployment levels in many CAH counties are higher than the state average leaving the CAH with the financial burden of caring for patients with no payment sources. Health Information Technology adoption in hospitals remains a national priority, many small rural hospitals lag behind their urban counterparts. The push to achieve Meaningful Use by 2015 in order to receive incentives and avoid penalties leaves small hospitals struggling for information and guidance. The KRHFP continues to collaborate with the Kentucky Health Information Exchange and the Rural Extension Centers to provide assistance in achieving Meaningful Use. The following core functions continue to drive the mission of the KRHFP: •Support for Quality Improvement •Support for Operational and Financial Improvement •Support for Health System Development and Community Engagement •Critical Access Hospital (CAH) Conversion
Effective start/end date9/1/008/31/15


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