Allowable Investments Search Tool

In general, SHIP allowable investments include activities to assist small rural hospitals with their quality improvement efforts and with their adaptation to changing payment systems through investments in hardware, software and related trainings. This includes aiding with value and quality improvement.

Unallowable investments include, but are not limited to, travel costs, hospital services, hospital staff salaries, or general supplies. Hospitals should contact their State Office of Rural Health (SORH) with questions regarding the appropriateness or fit of a certain activity or hardware/software purchase. For additional clarifications, refer to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

This tool classifies a number of example investment activities as Allowable, Unallowable, or PO Pre-Approval. This is not a comprehensive list. It is only intended to provide examples of allowable SHIP activities.

Voice Recognition System for Dictation
Allowable
Payment Bundling (PB)

Voice recognition system for dictation to support increased quality, efficiency, and/or coding is an allowable use of SHIP funds.

Architecture Design or Drafting Consulting Fees
Unallowable

Architecture design and/or drafting consulting costs or fees do not qualify as a SHIP Allowable Investment. Consulting fees of any kind are not allowable unless they are part of education and training.

Hospital Pricing Transparency
Allowable
Payment Bundling (PB)

Hospital pricing transparency training, software, and hardware are allowable uses of SHIP funds.

Please note: Pricing transparency subscription fees can be covered under SHIP for the first year, but SHIP funds should not be used to cover a hospital’s operational cost year after year. Regarding using funds to pay for consultant or vendor to build a price transparency software, this is NOT allowable. SHIP funds can cover for price transparency training of staff for any software or website done by a consultant, but they cannot cover website development time.

Handwashing Sinks
Unallowable

Hand sinks and hand wash stations, equipment, or installation of sinks do not qualify as a SHIP allowable investment.

These items are part of a hospital’s operational costs and are not clearly linked with the purpose and intent of the SHIP Program.

EMS Crew Equipment
Unallowable

Supplies and equipment used by emergency medical services (EMS) staff or EMS volunteers such as a stethoscope, watch, blood pressure cuff, and pulse oximeter do not qualify as SHIP allowable investment.

If the hospital and/or hospital-owned ambulance unit has a formal community paramedics program (CPP), hardware/software can be purchased to support the CPP to reduce EMS and emergency department misuse and readmissions. However, the use of SHIP funding for general EMS equipment is not allowable.

Stethoscopes
Unallowable

Stethoscopes that are manual, Bluetooth enabled, or telehealth purposed are not an allowable use of SHIP funds. 

Medical Ventilation Hoods
Unallowable

Medical ventilation hoods that provide for the dissipation of fumes, gases, smoke, or other harmful materials from a designated area are not an allowable use of SHIP funds. 

Automation
Allowable
SHIP ARP COVID-19 Testing & Mitigation

Addition of automated doors, sinks, toilets, soap dispensers, etc. for the purpose of COVID-19 mitigation.

COVID-19 Laboratory Supplies
Allowable
SHIP ARP COVID-19 Testing & Mitigation

Laboratory supplies and equipment for COVID-19 testing. 

Portable Equipment (for COVID-19)
Allowable
SHIP ARP COVID-19 Testing & Mitigation

Portable equipment (such as a portable x-ray machine) that is used to prevent patients from being moved throughout a facility and to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Sanitation and Cleaning (for COVID-19)
Allowable
SHIP ARP COVID-19 Testing & Mitigation

Sanitation and cleaning equipment (including disinfectant robots) to be used to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Also includes ultraviolet sanitation devices.

Telemetry
Allowable
SHIP ARP COVID-19 Testing & Mitigation

Upgrading or expanding for telemetry equipment as part of a larger COVID-19 mitigation strategy.

GlideScope
Unallowable
SHIP ARP COVID-19 Testing & Mitigation

Costs associated with purchasing, maintaining, or operating a GlideScope™ or other similar equipment which allows for video laryngoscope (considered direct patient care).

Communication Equipment (for COVID-19)
PO Pre-Approval
SHIP ARP COVID-19 Testing & Mitigation

Costs associated with the purchase, maintenance, or usage of communication equipment including 2-way radios, electronic messaging boards for COVID-19 testing and mitigation, and video streaming equipment. 

Transferring Unused SHIP Funds to Another Participating Hospital
Unallowable

Unused SHIP funds cannot be transferred to another participating hospital.

Provider-Based Clinic Quality Measures Education/Training
Allowable
Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) Investment

Education/training for provider-based rural health clinic quality improvement reporting, including patient satisfaction survey scores, is allowable.

Efficiency or Quality Improvement Training in Support of PB or PPS Related Initiatives
Allowable
Payment Bundling (PB)

Trainings that improve processes through adoption of best practices and transition to value-based payment strategies such as financial and operational improvements are allowable investments.

340B Drug Pricing Program Training
Allowable
Payment Bundling (PB)

A 340B Drug Pricing Program training intended to increase efficiency or quality improvement in support of Prospective Bundling and Prospective Payment Systems initiatives is an allowable investment.

This project is/was supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number UB1RH24206, Information Services to Rural Hospital Flexibility Program Grantees, $1,560,000 (0% financed with nongovernmental sources). This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.