Missouri’s new rural health program addresses upstream factors of health

  • Date: 03/31/2024

The Missouri Transformation of Rural Community Health program aims to go beyond treating patients when they get sick, but to address social challenges that make it difficult for people to maintain their health or manage chronic conditions, according to a news release from the department. It has been in development since 2021.

Six rural hospitals will lead the way in joining this new program. These health care facilities include Salem Memorial District Hospital in Salem, Golden Valley Memorial Healthcare in Clinton, Bothwell Regional Health Center in Sedalia, Phelps Health in Rolla, Citizens Memorial Hospital in Bolivar and Ray County Memorial Hospital in Richmond, according to the news release.

These hospitals will act as community hubs, where they will collaborate with other community organizations and partners to address health-related social needs and other social determinants of health, the news release added. These partners include primary care and behavioral health clinics, as well as other social service providers in those counties.

Under this initiative, hospitals and their partners will be able to share resources, send referrals and ensure completion of referrals on an online platform. With that software, program participants can provide services like transportation and meal delivery to patients. Missouri Medicaid money will help finance the participants' staff, monitor data and convene a local hospital leadership board to oversee the initiative's operations.

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