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Texas A&M awards technical assistance to St. Luke’s 

St. Luke’s Hospital has been chosen by Texas A&M’s Center for Optimizing Rural Health (CORH) as one of 25 facilities, nationwide, to receive community assessment, strategic recommendations and on-going technical assistance and mentoring to help ensure a strong, focused critical access hospital network remains in place. 

The Texas A&M Health Science Center (TAMHSC) A&M Rural and Community Health Institute (ARCHI) has 15 years of experience working with rural hospitals to identify issues and develop unique solutions. This experience, combined with expertise and collaborative partners across the nation, firmly establish ARCHI as the right organization to help rural hospitals via CORH. 

A technical advisory center for the nation, CORH concentrates its efforts on helping hospitals and communities recognize that their primary priority is to determine how to sustain critical healthcare services locally. This may not necessarily include routine hospital management, but rather “right-sizing” care to match the resources, demographics, geography and availability of providers in the community. CORH works with hospitals and their communities to determine feasible healthcare options that will be supported by the community, meet community needs, and most importantly offer local, quality care.

“St. Luke’s Hospital is very excited to have been chosen for this valuable resource,” said CEO Michelle Fortune. “As a rural critical access hospital, we are vulnerable to the everchanging regulatory and financial challenges in today’s healthcare market. We want to take full advantage of every possible opportunity to ensure we remain open for business in Polk County and are prepared to offer specific services needed by our local community.”  

Eighty-three U.S. rural hospitals have closed their doors since January 2010 leaving 83 communities looking for ways to retain access to healthcare. Rural facilities that have remained open are facing increasing legislative, regulatory and fiscal challenges with an estimated 50 percent of them being financially fragile.

CORH works with rural hospitals across the United States with the overall goal to ensure continued access to healthcare for the regions they serve. CORH provides technical assistance via a multi-tier system of support that includes intensive on-site technical assistance for five hospitals per year, remotely facilitated assistance for up to 25 hospitals per year, and self-directed access to best practices, resources and tools (a knowledge repository) for all interested communities. Technical assistance by CORH’s team of subject matter experts will help communities determine the right size healthcare delivery system that meets the needs of their population and information on how to implement or retain those access points.

 

Submitted by Becky Rickenbaker