Core Competency: Building and Sustaining Partnerships

Developing partnerships requires spending time getting to know state and local rural health care leaders and advocates. State Flex Programs should become familiar with their work and priorities. Periodic face-to-face meetings are imperative for building and sustaining partnerships and trust. State hospital associations, state rural health associations, state EMS office and associations, regional rural health networks, QIN/QIO, and local public health are all examples of organizations to build partnerships.

When combined with successful leadership, networking can be a powerful tool to advance rural health care systems. Networking enables providers and communities to leverage resources, expertise, and capacity to increase access to health care and improve health care performance and quality while lowering costs. Networking can lead to new relationships, partnerships, and knowledge sharing. Networks can be an effective way for rural health care organizations and leaders, including state Flex Programs, to utilize limited resources to their advantage.


  • Develop or maintain relationships with each rural provider through routine visits to each hospital and clinic
  • Host and participate in local and state partner meetings to discuss issues impacting rural health with well-developed facilitation skills
  • Engage with other state Flex Programs to identify promising practices and troubleshoot similar challenges
  • Regularly convene meetings with rural providers on relevant Flex Program areas
  • Regularly convene peer to peer sharing with rural providers on relevant Flex Program areas
  • Develop and maintain collaborative relationships with state associations representing various provider types to foster regular communication on new programs, policy and regulatory changes, and opportunities for collaboration

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