Flex (Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Grant Program)

The North Dakota Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility (Flex) Program is a state based partnership that works with and assists all rural hospitals to stabilize and sustain their local healthcare infrastructure. Flex is a companion to the Critical Access Hospital (CAH) designation process. Hospitals receive CAH designation from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Overview

Program Purpose
The Balanced Budget Act of 1997 created the Medicare State Rural Hospital Flexibility Program. The purpose of the program is to assist rural hospitals and to improve access to health services in rural communities. The Flex program provides funding to States for the designation of Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) in rural communities. CAH conversion can allow for enhanced service diversification and combines potentially improved (cost-based) reimbursement with savings from relaxed operating requirements to help ensure the financial viability of participating hospitals.

Program Mission
The Flex Program helps to sustain the rural healthcare infrastructure by strengthening critical access hospitals thereby maintaining access to care for rural residents. By applying the components of Flex (State Rural Health Plan,conversion to critical access hospital, network development, quality improvement and emergency medical services integration initiatives), the program fosters the growth and sustainment of rural collaborative healthcare systems across the continuum of care.

Most Recent Publications

  • What is a Community Health Center?
    Morin, K. & Barclay, M.
    North Dakota Medicine, Volume 38 Issue 3 Pages 20-23, October 2013
    Non-profit community-driven clinics provide high-quality primary and preventive care to all individuals, with or without insurance and regardless of their ability to pay.
  • North Dakota Rural Hospitals and Emergency Medical Services Collaboration
    Miller, M., & Gibbens, B. March 2012
    Results of a survey amongst North Dakota's 36 CAHs and their relationship with local EMS providers. Part of a series of fact sheets on Critical Access Hospitals and the North Dakota Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility (Flex) Program.
  • CAH Financial Conditions and Concerns
    Miller, M., & Gibbens, B. March 2012
    Summarizes the current financial status of North Dakota CAHs. Part of a series of fact sheets on Critical Access Hospitals and the North Dakota Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility (Flex) Program.
  • Hospital Networks
    Miller, M., & Gibbens, B. March 2012
    Discusses hospital networks. Part of a series of fact sheets on Critical Access Hospitals and the North Dakota Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility (Flex) Program.
  • North Dakota CAH Administrators’ Attitudes Toward Issues Facing Rural Hospitals
    Miller, M., & Gibbens, B. March 2012
    Discusses CAH administrators' attitudes to a variety of common issues or problems facing rural hospitals. Part of a series of fact sheets on Critical Access Hospitals and the North Dakota Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility (Flex) Program.

Most Recent Presentations

  • Building Healthier Rural Communities
    Presented by Gibbens, B. on Jun 05 2013 at the Dakota Conference on Rural and Public Health CAH Pre-Conference, Mandan, ND
    Presentation about rural health disparities with a focus on the Community Health Needs Assessment's currently being done in North Dakota.
  • North Dakota Flex Program & CAH Quality Network Update
    Presented by Ward, J. & Fossum, D. on Jun 05 2013 at the Critical Access Hospital Pre-Conference, Mandan, ND
    Provides education regarding the North Dakota Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility (Flex) Program by describing the Flex Program core areas and how they support North Dakota Critical Access Hospitals. Also outlines 2013 North Dakota CAH Quality Network activities.
  • Frontier Community Health Integration Project (F-CHIP) - CMS Demonstration Project
    Presented by Miller, M. & Blasl, T. on Feb 23 2012 at the North Dakota Frontier Community Health Integration Project (FCHIP) Meeting, via video conference
    Hosted by the North Dakota Hospital Association and the UND Center for Rural Health Flex Program. Attendees were North Dakota FCHIP Eligible Hospitals and stakeholders. Meeting minutes.
  • ND Flex Program Progress (2010-2011) & Plans (2011-2012)
    Presented by Miller, M. on Jul 20 2011 at the ND CAH Hospital Administrators meeting, via video conference, with contributions from the ND Flex Steering Committee
    Material shared is an overview of ND 2010-2011 Flex Program accomplishments, as well as plans for 2011 & beyond
  • Rugby Community Forum
    Presented by Gibbens, B. on Mar 31 2011 at the community health forum, Rugby, ND
    The forum and presentation was a service provided by the Rural Hospital Flexibility (Flex) program for Heart of America Medical Center.

Upcoming Events

Funder

Office of Rural Health Policy, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Partners

The North Dakota Flex Program operates through a formal partnership involving the Center for Rural Health, the North Dakota EMS Association, the North Dakota Healthcare Review, and the North Dakota Hospital Association.

Topics

Staff

Principal Investigator
Lynette Dickson MS, RD, LRD

Phone: (701) 777-3848
Email: ruralhealth@med.und.edu

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