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Rural Health Reform Initiative

The Rural Health Reform Initiative (RHRI) was formed in 2009 by the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems to help answer the question: How can the state’s small and rural hospitals stay sustainable and meet the Triple Aim goals of better care, better health and lower cost while maintaining the highest levels of quality care?

Rural hospitals often have more obstacles to overcome than their urban counterparts. These include lower patient volumes, a lack of a balanced source of payer types, limited workforce, distant locations, unique community characteristic, and constrained resources. This generates insufficient revenue to pay for operating expenses, a lack of providers to meet the needs of the community, among other issues. Despite the tremendous challenges that these hospitals face, Oregon’s small and rural hospitals have been leaders in financial and delivery system transformation, so that they can continue to meet the diverse and ever-changing needs of their communities.

The RHRI has two primary goals:

  • Sustaining rural hospitals and physician practices: Preserving access to local health care services for rural Oregonians through sustainable state and federal funding for type A/B hospitals and health systems.
  • Preparing for the future: Taking the steps necessary to design and implement new models of care delivery and reimbursement for rural hospitals.

Current Programs

  • Electronic Health Record Integrations with Emergency Department-Information Exchange (EDIE) and the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP)
  • Transitional Post-Acute Care Program for Critical Access Hospitals
  • Virtual Clinic Services
  • Population Health Education (conducted in 2016)
  • Governance education for hospital executives and trustees