Rural Community Health Programs- A Comparison of Two Models


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Is there a community health structure or strategy that has shown successful outcomes in a rural setting? In 2010, the Affordable Care Act introduced a new requirement for non-profit hospitals to demonstrate community benefit by completing a Community Health Needs Assessment and Implementation Strategy that includes representative input of the community needs and interest or priority for improvement of the identified needs. Through this requirement, hospitals and healthcare systems have created community health programs demonstrating a wide range of resource investment from each entity. Rural communities across the United States contend with a unique set of challenges related to transportation, access to food, healthcare services, education, and employment. While these barriers affect the community’s ability to achieve health, they can also represent barriers to establishing community health programs that address the community’s identified needs. This retrospective case report explores two community health models focusing on comparison of structure, strategy, and outcomes while providing evidence that can help guide rural hospitals in their development of community health programs.



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