Title: Targeted Technical Assistance for Rural Hospitals Program: A Community-Engaged Approach to Improve Access to Essential Health Services The Georgia Southern University Research Foundation, Inc. (GSURSF) 261 Forest Dr., Veazey Hall, Suite 300, Statesboro, GA 30458 Co-PIs: Bettye Apenteng, Ph.D., 912-478-2416, firstname.lastname@example.org; Charles Owens, MSA, 229-322-8290, email@example.com Requesting $800,000 per year for five years This application seeks funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) through the Targeted Technical Assistance for Rural Hospitals Program (TTARHP) to provide in-depth and tailored technical assistance to rural hospitals at risk of closure in order to assist them in continuing to provide essential health services to their communities. The team, which includes faculty from diverse backgrounds from the Colleges of Business and Public Health, has over 80 years of combined experience providing direct technical assistance to rural hospitals and communities. With the support of other industry subject matter experts and rural health stakeholders, the team will collaborate with participating rural hospital communities to (a) engage hospital communities and federal agency stakeholders in designing, marketing launching, and implementing of proposed program activities; (b) deliver tailored and responsive technical assistance to hospital communities that facilitates the assessment of community health and hospital needs and resources; (c) provide tailored and responsive technical assistance to hospital communities on the implementation of community-driven strategies to assure residents in rural areas continue to have equitable access to essential health services locally; (d) develop and disseminate evidence-based training, recommendations and resources on the strategies for building robust rural health infrastructure to support local service delivery and; (e) monitor, and evaluate technical
assistance activities, and the broader impact of the TTARHP. We propose a novel layered hospital selection process that takes into account both hospital financial vulnerability and community vulnerability. We use a tiered technical assistance structure to target technical assistance based on hospital need, allowing us to serve a significant proportion of at-risk rural hospitals in the United States while focusing more intently on the most at-risk hospitals. This approach also enables hospitals to opt-in to TA-related activities that match their capacity and interests. Additionally, our proposal is novel in that it takes a community-based and community-driven approach to rural health planning for the most vulnerable rural hospitals, emphasizing community partnerships and coalition building. Technical assistance delivered as part of this program will help rural hospital communities implement a prioritized strategy for keeping essential services local by building hospital capacity in evidence-based decision-making, operational and financial improvement, strategic management, community partnership and coalition building, project implementation, and evaluation. Project activities will be marketed to hospitals through direct contact with selected hospitals, a project-dedicated website, social media outlets, and rural health resource partners, such as the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, the National Rural Health Association, state hospital associations, and State Offices of Rural Health. The team will work with participating hospitals to document success stories and produce and disseminate toolkits on best practices to a wider audience using a multimodal communication and dissemination strategy.