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Virginia Department of Health

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Program Area: Support for Quality Improvement

The Virginia State Office of Rural Health (SORH) partners with the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association (VHHA) to implement the Virginia Rural Hospital Coaching Collaborative (Collaborative) in an effort to support quality and operational improvement for all Virginia Small Rural Hospital Improvement Grant Program (SHIP) eligible hospitals. VHHA brings in speakers for the quarterly Leadership Development Institutes. Dashboards are used to measure quarterly improvements in quality and operations. The Virginia Flex Program is also contracting with Stroudwater Associates to work with individual hospitals on quality improvement activities.

Please share a success story about reporting quality data or using quality data to help critical access hospitals (CAHs) in your state improve patient care

Virginia CAHs appreciate the group learning opportunities that occur during the Leadership Development Institutes or the quality improvement meetings. Each meeting promotes best practices and lessons learned to be shared in the group setting and implemented at the individual hospitals.

Program Area: Support for Financial and Operational Improvement

The Virginia Rural Hospital Coaching Collaborative supports operational and financial improvements for the 6 participating Virginia SHIP-eligible hospitals. Four CAHs are participating in the Collaborative. Three of the six Virginia CAHs will receive in-depth financial assessments. The contractor traveled to each CAHs and spent a day reviewing each hospital’s financial and operational reports and procedures. Each CAH, along with the Virginia SORH, received comprehensive reports reviewing findings and providing recommendations for improvement. The contractor has reviewed with each hospital their findings and recommendations and will provide technical assistance for implementing recommendations.

Program Area: Support for Population Health Management and Emergency Medical Services Integration

The Virginia SORH worked with a contractor and the State Office of Emergency Medical Services (OEMS) to conduct a listening tour/needs assessment focusing on rural areas of the state and communication needs between CAHS and local EMS. This coming year, SORH and OEMS will follow up with each CAH and EMS region during site visits to determine practical solutions to some of the challenges identified such as workforce retention, overutilization of the EMS and the Emergency Department. 

Please provide information about Collaboration/Shared Services

This year the Virginia SORH participated in the review of a request by the two large hospital systems in southwest Virginia to merge. The Virgina Flex Program is part of the advisory team overseeing the implementation of population health management by this newly merged system.

Program Area: Support for Designation of CAHs

Virginia has lost two CAHs in the past three years. Each community has expressed the desire for the CAH to re-open. Virginia continues to work with these two communities to assist them in their quest to re-open their hospital.

Please provide information about any efforts to assist CAHs/communities and partner organizations in the transition to value-based care.

The VHHA offers Virginia SHIP-eligible hospitals a Leadership Development Institute (LDI) that incorporates key trustee/board members and top physicians and nurses into the activities of the day. LDIs are offered bi-annually for Collaborative participants who also participate in Coaching Collaborative Conference Calls between LDIs.

Please provide information about network activities in your state to support Flex Program activities.

The Virginia CAH Network provides an opportunity for CAHs and SHIP-eligible hospitals to participate in leadership development, quality improvement, and hear the latest research and updates that relate to CAHs.

Please describe how your state Flex Program has enhanced its use of data in the past year.

The Virginia SORH partners with Stroudwater Associates and VHHA to promote cross-network collaboration among CAHs.

Program Statistics

Type of Organization State Government
Staffing 1.2 FTEs
Number of CAHs 7
Website URL Organization Website

Flex Program Staff

Heather Anderson
Director, Division of Primary Care and Rural Health, Virginia
(804) 864-7426

Director, Division of Primary Care and Rural Health since September 2015

Clarissa M. Noble
Flex Coordinator, Virginia
(804) 864-7433

Flex Coordinator since May 2018

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, $1,100,000 (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.