Rural Health Programs
More rural counties have fewer residents who often live further from health care resources than their more urban counterparts. Arkansas has a variety of safety net providers to compensate for the shortage of health care providers and improve access to care in those areas, especially for the low-income and uninsured population. This is done through a number of initiatives operating in concert with other agencies and organizations dedicated to providing access to health care. The following is a list of grant funding programs within the Office of Rural Health and Primary Care.
Charitable Clinics Grant Program
- Serves to strengthen health care systems and services at the local level for Arkansas’ Charitable Clinics by increasing the number of Arkansans receiving health care services.
Health Professional Clearinghouse
- Professionals are matched with communities/healthcare facilities that have been actively recruiting. These activities are coordinated through a variety of ORHPC partners and other organizations and communities.
Health Resources and Services Administration
- The ORHPC compiles, analyzes and submits requests to Health Resources and Services Administration for designations of Medically Underserved Areas (MUAs) and primary care, dental, and mental Health Professional Shortage areas (HPSAs). HRSA provides oversight of the Primary Care Office Grant and the National Health Service Corps.
Primary Care Office Grant
- Provides federal-level funding to states to improve access to care for underserved populations. The Office of Rural Health and Primary Care provides technical assistance to parties that may qualify for these programs.
National Health Service Corps
- Health care professionals are matched with requesting sites in Arkansas qualifying as Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs). These professionals are able to repay their loans or scholarships (payback through service) through a commitment to work in a designated area of the state.
J-1 Visa Waiver Physicians
- Foreign physicians who attend medical school and receive a medical degree in a foreign country are permitted to come to the United States for residency training on a J-1 Visa. After completion of the residency training, these physicians are required to return to their home country for two years before applying for a new U.S. Visa. The two-year home return requirement may be waived if the physician is willing to practice medicine, full-time for three years, in an underserved area of the United States.
Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program
- The federal program created the program to assist limited service hospitals become eligible as Critical Access Hospital (CAHs) for Medicare reimbursement. Currently, there are 29 CAH in Arkansas.
Small Rural Hospital Improvement Program
- Provides funds to small rural hospitals to improve quality and enhance their ability to meet federal hospital guidelines.
State Office of Rural Health Grant
- Focuses on maintaining and increasing quality health care services to rural and underserved areas of the state. By partnering with other agencies and organizations, the initiative improves access to health care services.