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Flex Rural Hospital Technical Assistance

The Rural Hospital Technical Assistance program is intended for all rural hospitals in North Dakota. Some rural hospitals will use the Flex program to convert to Critical Access Hospital status while other hospitals will continue as general acute care hospitals. Whether a hospital converts, or not, the technical assistance program is intended to assist all rural hospitals to better understand their markets and communities. The following list constitutes services available, free-of-charge, to North Dakota's rural hospitals. Activities are supported by grant dollars from the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program, Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Technical assistance is available through the North Dakota Flex Program to rural hospitals and ambulance services in the state. Assistance is geared toward helping with planning and decision making in order to be prepared to meet the health needs of rural residents in North Dakota.

The following is a list of available assistance, made available through the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program, Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

  1. CAH Clearinghouse – The CAH Clearinghouse features common information related to program implementation, reimbursement, regulation, and policy; it will link providers to information sources throughout the country; and it can serve as a vehicle for providers to communicate with each other on CAH/Flex matters.
  2. CAH Quality Network – The Network serves as a common place for North Dakota’s critical access hospitals to share best practices, tools, and resources related to providing quality of care. A goal of the Network is to improve information sharing, networking at the regional and state level among tertiary facilities and stakeholders to help prevent duplication of efforts.
  3. Community Forums – A forum can be a two-way street where information and perspective from the public is shared with local health decision makers and where information and perspective held by the host-organization can be disseminated to the public. A community forum can be used as part of a strategic planning process and/or part of a community education process.
  4. Community Health Needs Assessment – Moving forward, The North Dakota Center for Rural Health will no longer complete Community Health Needs Assessments as a form of technical assistance. However, we will continue to provide resources, and support critical access hospitals in this process.
  5. Focus Groups – A focus group is a small group of individuals, selected to participate in a discussion in which specific questions have been developed. The focus group is a form of planning.
  6. Grant Writing Workshops – The UND Center for Rural Health conducts grant writing workshops that provide participants from organizations such as schools, faith-based organizations, non-profit agencies, community service groups and businesses, with the tools necessary to compete successfully for grant funds.
  7. Healthcare Boards Educational Resources – The Flex Program has a board educational library available to critical access hospitals.  Healthcare Boards in the 21st Century, Providing Healthy Leadership for Our Rural Hospitals is a curriculum developed by D.D. Bainbridge & Associates, Inc.
  8. Key Informant Interviews – Key informant interviews are another form of community assessment. The hospital selects “key” informants/leaders in the community or surrounding area for direct one-on-one interviews.
  9. Speakers Bureau – As part of a board meeting, annual meeting, community forum, or other event, UND Center for Rural Health staff are prepared to come to your community and offer presentations. The Center for Rural Health has experts in many topics surrounding rural health.
  10. Staff Survey - Internal Personnel Audits – This instrument is used with hospital personnel to evaluate their opinions and impressions on a ten item scale: work facilitation, concern for others, team building, decision making, motivation, communication, conflict management, image, doctor/staff relations, and compensation systems.
  11. Strategic Planning – Facilitation for planning purposes is available for small and large groups including board of directors, department managers, community members, network members and other.
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