The mission of the Mississippi Office of Rural Health & Primary Care (MORHPC) is to support innovation that helps rural communities and to build and promote sustainable improvements in the rural healthcare system. The MORHPC accomplishes this by administering federal grants, collecting data, analyzing policy, providing technical assistance, assisting with health workforce recruitment and retention, and coordinating statewide rural health interests. The overall goal of the MORHPC is to ensure that high-quality healthcare is available in rural communities and aligned with community needs. The MORHPC disseminates more than 6 million dollars for rural health programs and activities every year. Measurable objectives include but are not limited to the following: • Recruit and retain the primary health care workforce serving in Mississippi’s Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs); • Incentivize the primary care workforce serving in HPSAs; • Develop the partnerships necessary to address/meet Mississippi’s health care workforce needs; • Increase access to primary care services in underserved communities/populations; and • Improve overall health care outcomes. Clinical priorities include increasing mental health and substance abuse professionals to improve mental health in HPSAs. The MSLRP will be administered by senior/key personnel located in the MORHPC. Proposed personnel are a combination of individuals educated and experienced in program composition, implementation and evaluation, public policy, and rural health care. The MORHPC created the MSLRP in accordance with the SLRP’s purpose, goals, and objectives, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) priorities, and Mississippi health care workforce needs. In collaboration with partnering organizations, the MORHPC has outlined the strategies and activities necessary to launch and sustain the MSLRP. Equally important are the plans to ensure marketing to each stakeholder
, contingencies to minimize challenges, and program evaluation to ensure the MORHPC meets and exceeds program goals. The MORHPC already participates in the recruitment and retention of health care professionals in HPSAs. Under the State Primary Care (PCO) Grant Program, the MORHPC engages in activities that include, but are not limited to, the following: • Presenting and disseminating material to recruitment and retention incentive programs; • Updating the National Provider Identification dataset in HPSAs; • Submitting shortage designations applications to HRSA; • Processing J-1 Visa Waiver applications and National Interest Waiver requests; • Providing data and information to support the growth of health centers; and • Supporting quality improvement training opportunities for health professionals. Funding will enable the MORHPC to expand its footprint by: offering incentives to providers, securing new partners, and addressing additional priorities such as mental health care.