The health of Vermonters depends upon access to comprehensive health care services. The State Office of Rural Health and Primary Care works with and supports small rural hospitals, clinics and health care providers to improve access to primary care, dental and mental health care for all Vermonters – especially the uninsured, under-served and those living far from larger medical centers.
The Office of Rural Health and Primary Care works with a wide range of stakeholders to:
- Improve quality and performance of critical access and rural hospitals.
- Expand access to primary, dental and mental health services regardless of insurance coverage.
- Support recruitment and retention of primary care, oral health and mental health workforce.
- Support outreach to farm owners and workers, as well as training for health care professionals.
We also connect local health care providers and decision-makers to state, regional and national resources, information and technical assistance.
Local Health Offices
The Health Department has 12 local health offices across Vermont that work directly with local stakeholders, including hospitals and health care providers, to prevent disease and improve the health of all Vermonters.
The Vermont Program for Quality in Health Care (VPQHC)
The Vermont Program for Quality in Health Care (VPQHC) administers quality improvement activities with the state’s critical access and rural hospitals. VPQHC is funded by federal Flex and SHIP rural hospital grants to the Office of Rural Health and Primary Care. The goal of this work is to to improve clinical care related to patient safety, outpatient services and patient satisfaction under the Medicare Beneficiary Quality Improvement Project (MBQIP).
The New England Rural Health RoundTable
The New England Rural Health RoundTable (The RoundTable) serves as the rural health association for the six New England states seeking to “improve the health and wellbeing of communities throughout rural New England” through collaboration, education and advocacy. The annual Rural Health Conference is the only interdisciplinary education and networking event for rural health care providers in primary care, oral health and mental health services.
The Rural Health Information Hub
The Rural Health Information Hub, formerly the Rural Assistance Center, is funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy to be a national clearinghouse on rural health resources and information.The RHIhub provides access to research, toolkits, best practices and resources to support rural communities and health care providers.
The RHIhub offers an extensive website, an email newsletter, and a research and referral service.
The National Rural Health Resource Center
The National Rural Health Resource Center is a nonprofit organization dedicated to sustaining and improving health care in rural communities.
The FLEX Monitoring Team
The Flex Monitoring Team is a consortium of the Rural Health Research Centers at the Universities of Minnesota, North Carolina-Chapel Hill and Southern Maine, funded by the federal Office of Rural Health Policy to evaluate the impact of the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Grant (Flex program). They conduct research and produce periodic reports on health care quality, financial strength and operational sustainability of critical access hospitals (CAHs) across the nation.