Evaluating State Flex Program Population Health Activities

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MRHRC, population health, rural, evaluation, chronic conditions, social determinants of health, community health needs assessment


The Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility (Flex) Program funds initiatives to improve the health of rural communities under Program Area 3: Population Health Improvement, in order to build the capacity of Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) to achieve measurable improvements in the health outcomes of their communities. Th authors provide an overview of the expectations for Program Area 3; summarize State Flex Program (SFP) initiatives under this Program Area; describe promising population health strategies implemented by SFPs; and discusse outcome measurement issues for population health, including providing an example a chain of short, intermediate, and long-term outcome measures for a potential population health activity. Th authors also portray a pathway to connect Flex Program population health efforts to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Healthy Rural Hometown Initiative (HRHI), a five-year multi-program effort to address the factors driving rural disparities in heart disease, cancer, unintentional injury, chronic lower respiratory disease, and stroke. Finally, the brief provides resources for outcome measurement in population health.

A companion brief, An Inventory of State Flex Program Population Health Initiatives for Fiscal Years 2019-2023, provides a detailed description of population health initiatives proposed by the 45 SFPs. This brief is available at: https://www.flexmonitoring.org/sites/flexmonitoring.umn.edu/files/media/InventoryofSFPPopHealthActivities_0.pdf

For more information, please contact John Gale at john.gale@maine.edu


This report was completed by the Flex Monitoring Team with funding from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), under PHS Grant No. U27RH01080. The information, conclusions, and opinions expressed in this document are those of the authors and no endorsement by FORHP, HRSA, or HHS is intended or should be inferred.

Funding Organization

HRSA, Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

Grant Number

PHS Grant No. U27RH01080

InventoryofSFPPopHealthActivities_0.pdf (508 kB)
Inventory of State Flex Program Population Health Initiatives