The South Carolina Office of Rural Health is dedicated to building and supporting strong, viable systems of health care throughout rural South Carolina. The cornerstone of these systems is often a small rural hospital. However, these hospitals often struggle to maintain traditional service models, and more than 140 have closed nationwide since 2010, including six in South Carolina. With this reduced access to emergency and primary care, rural health providers have to think innovatively about how they can deliver appropriate and timely care.
The Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility (Flex) Program and the Small Rural Hospital Improvement Grant Program (SHIP) allow SCORH to provide focused technical assistance to small rural hospitals. The SCORH team can assist with quality improvement, financial and operational improvement, development of community partnerships, and integration of emergency medical services (EMS) into the model of care. SCORH serves as an information clearinghouse, a sounding board, and an advocate for these providers to help them maintain their financial viability and high-quality healthcare services.
Did you know?
Of more than 90 healthcare facilities across our state, there are currently 15 small, rural hospitals in South Carolina. Four of those are federally certified as Critical Access Hospitals.
- Expert technical assistance for Critical Access Hospitals, other providers and their communities
- Partnerships with statewide quality improvement initiatives
- Small rural hospital financial improvement initiatives
- Operational and financial assessments
- Staff education and trainings for small rural hospitals, community partners, rural health networks, and rural EMS providers
- Level IV trauma designation support
- Stakeholder engagement and networking
- Advocacy at the state and federal level
- Collaboration with other statewide entities to allow for state-level coordination on issues that matter to all of our South Carolina hospitals and systems
Sarah M. Craig joined the South Carolina Office of Rural Health in 2015, and currently serves as the director of the Health System Innovation team. In this role, she provides targeted support to rural hospitals, emergency medical service (EMS) systems, and primary care providers in South Carolina. She is responsible for engaging the state’s three critical access hospitals in quality improvement activities/initiatives.