Rural Health Services Revolving Fund
The Rural Health Services Revolving Fund was created to strengthen rural health care systems and services at the local level. The intent of the legislation was to give the Arkansas Department of Health resources to help rural communities retain basic medical services and implement new, innovative approaches to health and health care.
The current focus of the Rural Health Services Revolving Fund Grant program is to target Chronic Disease Prevention at the community level and coordinate with Hometown Health Improvement activities such as but not limited to:
- Support improvement or transition initiatives of rural hospitals
- Provide needed emergency medical services
- Provide non-emergency medical services
- Support other efforts to improve the health or the health care system of the community
- Support local community strategic planning efforts
- Provide community or county wide assessments with populations of 15,000 or less
To be eligible to obtain assistance from this program, the following requirements must be met:
- The applicant must be in a community with a population of 15,000 or less
- The applicant program, if applicable, must participate in the state Medicaid program or be willing to enroll in the program
- The applicant must identify the source and furnish proof of the cash match
- Applicants must show strong community collaboration documented by letters of support from the either the County Judge or Mayor AND either the Hometown Health Improvement Chair or the Local Health Unit Administrator
Applications from organizations not meeting these requirements will not be considered.
Funds requested by applicants shall be matched on a 50% - 50% cash basis by the applicant. Grant funds and cash matching funds must both be used toward expenditures. Upon notification of a grant award, a checking account should be opened by the recipient using the amount of the cash match. Grant funds received should also be deposited into this account for payments of grant expenditures. Communities having completed a Community Health Needs Assessment may be eligible for a 75% grant - 25% cash match. A Community Health Needs Assessment (e.g. BRFSS, YRBS, Arkansas Prevention Needs Assessment or Healthy Arkansas Plan or contact ORH&PC to determine viability of the instrument used) is defined as a comprehensive plan for health system improvement. This compilation of community-specific data, agreed to by stakeholders, allows those involved to recognize and understand trends in various health and quality of life issues, and to prioritize health needs within the community. A copy of this completed assessment must be submitted and approved along with the application for the application to be eligible for this level of funding. The need addressed in the proposal must be identified in the assessment. The grant award will be made direct to the Grantee. This program cannot fund salaries; program operating costs; or the purchase of equipment or services made prior to the grant award.
Review Process and Criteria
Competing applications are initially reviewed by staff for completeness and compliance with application and program guidelines. Applicants meeting all application and program guidelines will be considered eligible. After staff have completed the initial review, applicants may be requested to submit additional information. This information would be needed to clarify the application prior to the competitive application review process.
An Objective Review Committee will evaluate and score each application and make a recommendation for approval or disapproval for funding to the Director of the Arkansas Department of Health.
Emphasis will be focused on proposals that address primary and preventive health care, as well as those proposals that demonstrate:
- the greatest potential for improving access to medical care without duplicating existing services;
- formal or informal development of a broad-based community board or group formed to develop and implement the requested award;
- collaboration with multiple agencies or providers that will lead to the success of the project; and
- stabilization of necessary services.
Notice of grant cycles will be made well in advance of the call for applications. All interested parties should contact the Office of Rural Health and Primary Care to determine the due date for the next funding cycle and to express interest for consideration. Fund availability is reliant upon State appropriation.
Rural Physician Incentive Revolving Fund
The Rural Physician Incentive Revolving Fund is an initiative created to encourage physicians to locate and to remain in the practice of primary care (family practice, general practice, pediatrics, internal medicine, or OB/Gyn) in an Arkansas rural community for a period of four years.
In order to enhance recruitment and retention of physicians in rural communities, each physician funded will be awarded grants totaling $55,000 over a four year period for continuous service in a qualifying full-time rural practice community. This is a competitive process. Grants are awarded on the basis of available funds with priority given to rural communities having the greatest need. Repayment of principal, with interest, shall be required for failure to remain in the community for four continuous years practicing primary care on a regular basis. Payment is made at the establishment of a full-time practice, and at the end of each full year in the community in the following allocations:
- Establishment $25,000
- End of year 2 $10,000
- End of year 3 $10,000
- End of year 4 $10,000
- Physician/practice must be newly established after June 30, 1999
- Practice must be full-time primary care - a minimum of 32 hours a week
- Practice must be established in a medically underserved area as designated by the U.S. Department of Human Services with a population of 15,000 or less
- Physician/practice must serve Medicaid patients
- Physician must be licensed by the State of Arkansas
Physicians assisted by the Arkansas Rural Medical Practice Student Loan and Scholarship Program or the Medical Community Match Program are eligible for benefits under this program.
Rural Medical Clinic Revolving Loan Fund
The Office of Primary Care, through the State Board of Finance, administers a pool of money known as the Rural Medical Clinic Revolving Loan Fund. This money is designed to assist communities and physicians in the construction, renovation, or equipping of medical clinics in rural areas. The Office of Primary Care gathers data and makes recommendations to the Board of Finance on funding priorities. For physicians, loans are available up to $12,000 and are payable at 5% interest over six years. For community groups, loans/grants are available up to $10,000 with the loan portion being payable at 5% interest over 10 years.
On funds going to communities, priority will be given to the following:
- COMMUNITIES IN DESIGNATED SHORTAGE AREAS – Communities that are designated by the federal government as Health Professional Shortage Areas with higher priority going to the higher designations, i.e. 01 and 02.
- COMMUNITIES THAT HAVE PROVIDERS – Communities that have made an arrangement for a provider, i.e. the funds do not go to communities that wish to construct a clinic in hopes to recruiting a physician. The provider arrangement can be a letter by a physician agreeing to practice in a community.
- COMMUNITIES THAT EXHIBIT STRONG LOCAL SUPPORT – This support should be evidenced by an investment of time and money. Letters of support from state and local leaders included in the application for funds.
A community request for funding should include the following:
- A letter from the community requesting Rural Medical Clinic Revolving Loan Funds stating the amount requested and whether funds are requested as a loan or grant, need of the community, and purpose of the funds.
- Minutes from either the Quorum Court or the City Council, (whichever entity is to be responsible for repayment of the loan) which states that a motion has been passed to apply and be responsible for repayment of this loan.
- Price quotation for equipment, renovation, or construction costs.
Letters of support from state and local leaders.
- Letter from physician stating intent to practice in community.
The Board of Finance determines that the rural community in which the rural medical clinic is to be established through a loan does not have adequate medical services available in the rural community; that the land, building, and equipment to be acquired, constructed, or renovated through the use of the loan funds are needed to meet the medical needs of the community in which it is to be established; that the medical practitioners seeking the loan have entered into an agreement with the board, which shall be a part of the loan application and agreement, if approved, to engage in medical practice in the rural medical clinic for the period for which the loan is applied; and that in the event there are not adequate funds available to make loans for rural medical clinics applying for the loans, the board shall make the loans to those rural medical clinics which, in the opinion of the board, will meet the more critical rural medical needs of this state.
The Department of Health develops the criteria for evaluating medically underserved areas, which include, but not be limited to: infant mortality rate; poverty population percentage; population-to-primary-care-physician