Rural Health Resources

Resources for Critical Access Hospitals and Small Rural Hospitals

Learn more about the benefits of health IT and take the first step toward implementation and attaining meaningful use.

How to Implement EHRs for CAHs and Rural Hospitals

What are the Benefits of Health IT in Rural Settings?

The use of health IT enables better care coordination and instant access to patient information, which can improve health care quality and patient outcomes in rural communities. Follow this link to see some of the ways Health IT will be especially beneficial to rural America where distances between health care providers and hospitals are great and access to specialists is limited.

See the benefits

Overcoming Barriers to Health IT Adoption and Implementation

The realities of distance, isolation, and constricted resources can complicate rural health care delivery. Health IT can help ameliorate some of these problems. Follow this link for resources to learn more about overcoming rural barriers to health care delivery and improving health care quality and patient outcomes in rural settings.

Overcoming Barriers

Implementation Support for Critical Access Hospitals and Small Rural Hospitals

Here are some tools and resources developed by HHS and its Federal and private sector partners and grantees specifically to help CAHs and rural hospitals adopt and implement health IT.

View tools and resources

ONC’s Nationwide Call to Action

Last year, we issued a nationwide challenge to see 1000 critical access hospitals (CAHs) and small, rural hospitals get to Meaningful Use by 2014. The call to action was met with support; we could feel everyone roll up their sleeves in unison.

As of July 31, 2013, we passed the goal with 1,115 (65%) CAHs and small, rural hospitals achieving Meaningful Use. Specifically, 62% (approximately 822 of 1,332) of CAHs and 77% (approximately 293 of 383) of small, rural hospitals (those generally with less than 50 staffed beds) had attested to meaningful use of EHRs.

Read the call to action

Meaningful Use for Eligible Hospitals & Critical Access Hospitals

Do you have questions about the special provisions for CAHs under the Medicare EHR Incentive Program? Select the button below for information and quick links about CAHs and rural hospitals under the CMS EHR incentive program, including the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs as well as Meaningful Use Stage 1 Criteria and Meaningful Use Stage 2 Criteria for Eligible Hospitals and CAHs.

Information and quick links

Funding Opportunities

Learn information about Federal funding opportunities to support rural health IT infrastructure needs.

Funding Opportunities

ONC’s Federal partnerships in support of rural health

ONC is collaborating with Federal partners, including the US Departments of Agriculture, Veterans Affairs, Labor and Education as well as the Federal Communications Commission, to 1) support rural health and rural economic development and 2) help rural health care providers and hospitals nationwide leverage technology to optimize their communities health systems and improve the quality of their care.

HHS and US Department of Agriculture  Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) [PDF - 446 KB] linking rural health clinics and hospitals to USDA grants and loans to help fund health IT infrastructure (e.g., hardware and software).

HHS and Veterans Administration MOU [PDF - 419 KB]  to improve health care coordination and quality for rural and highly rural veterans.

HHS and Department of Labor MOU [PDF - 634 KB] to leverage current resources to promote a health IT workforce that is a) available in sufficient numbers and skills to support health IT needs, including adoption and meaningful use of health IT and b) actively employed supporting health IT needs.