Rural Case Studies

On this page, you can find the latest stories highlighting the good work of our rural members. From innovations in AI to telehealth to new payment models, hospitals and health systems in rural areas are brainstorming bold new ideas worth showcasing here.

Rural Hospital Interventions for Coronavirus (COVID-19)

As the COVID-19 outbreak evolves, AHA has captured the following inspirational stories and lessons learned of how rural hospitals and health systems are working to increase access points, deliver care, improve safety and meet the needs of the residents of their communities. These form a growing compendium of case examples on rural hospital interventions for COVID-19.

Samaritan Health Services North Lincoln Hospital and Pacific Communities Hospital in Lincoln County, Ore. have battled a COVID-19 surge since June 4. Through their experience they have lived and learned the significance of emergency disaster planning, community collaboration, supply chain challenges for PPE and testing and that cultural awareness leads to cultural competency.

How Clarke County Hospital (CCH), Osceola, Iowa is expanding its telehealth services to include home monitoring of COVID-19 patients and why is a response to a local spike. We hear from Brian Evans, CEO of CCH in Osceola, Iowa and Corey Martin, senior director at the Iowa Hospital Association, who applied for and received federal funds to expand telehealth services to include home monitoring.

Healthy St. Landry Alliance leads a coordinated community response: Opelousas General Health System in St. Landry Parish explains how its associated community health alliance, a consortium of more than 25 local partners, address social determinants of health and other issues that extend beyond hospital walls during the COVID-19 pandemic in rural Louisiana.

Managing COVID-19 in a Rural Community: St. James Parish Hospital, Lutcher, Louisiana anticipated the dangers of the COVID-19 pandemic and early on, the hospital connected with community partners to share information via social media and otherwise.

Wilson Medical Center Implements Creative Care Alternatives to Address Covid-19: Wilson Medical Center, Neodesha, Kan. Rural communities’ patients are typically older than those in metro communities, and with the onset of COVID-19, many seniors are reluctant to leave their homes. Access to providers is strained as people avoid hospitals and clinics, yet are still in need of care. Wilson Medical Center (WMC) in Neodesha, Kan., has found a solution to this challenge by instituting consumerconscious caring with its curbside lab and clinics.

Four Stages of Planning and Implementation During Covid-19: One Rural Hospital’s Preparations, Marshall Medical Center, Placerville, CA. Marshall Medical Center in Placerville, Calif., has been and continues to prepare for a potential patient surge related to the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, it continues its actions and education to help patients and communities “bend the curve down” and slow the progression of the disease. In this case study, we hear from Siri Nelson, CEO of Marshall Medical Center, about the four stages of planning and implementation her hospital has undertaken to prepare for COVID-19.

Rapid Deployment of Telehealth Services for Rural Hospitals Fighting COVID-19 - Riverwood Healthcare Center, Aitkin, Minn. How Riverwood Healthcare Center (RHCC) in Aitkin, Minn., quickly deployed Zoom for Business to virtually treat patients amidst the coronavirus pandemic. Although the county has not seen any positive COVID-19 cases yet, Riverwood Healthcare Center in Aitkin, Minn., a 25-bed critical access hospital located about 130 miles north of Minneapolis, is actively preparing.

Rural Covid-19 Case Study: Surviving a Covid-19 Surge - Margaret Mary Health, Batesville, IN, Margaret Mary Health (MMH), located in Batesville, Ind. (population 7,500), is a not-for-profit, critical access hospital employing nearly 850 team members serving a population of more than 30,000 residents. MMH saw a surge of COVID-19 patients in early to mid-March and is proactively monitoring the coronavirus pandemic and taking aggressive precautions to stay ahead of the surge.

Rural Hospital Shifts Operations In Anticipation Of Covid-19 Surge - King’s Daughters Medical Center, Brookhaven, Miss. King’s Daughters Medical Center (KDMC) is implementing a variety of strategic and operational shifts in anticipation of a surge of COVID-19 patients in April. Though the 99-bed hospital is in a rural community, it expects to be negatively affected by higher rates of the coronavirus from New Orleans, which is two hours south.

Addressing Social Determinants of Health to Save the Lives of Seniors SoHum Health - Humboldt County, CA, The first case of COVID-19 in Humboldt County, Calif., was confirmed on February 20, 2020. Through SDOH, SoHum Health aims to get in front of the virus and save lives of its 3400 seniors.

KSB Hospital Response for Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Katherine Shaw Bethea Hospital, Dixon, Ill. At Katherine Shaw Bethea Hospital in Dixon, Ill., health care leaders knew they had to act quickly to create a rapid response plan. Their solution: drive-through testing for COVID-19.


Best Practices Approach to Treating Maternal Hemorrhage - Titus Regional Medical Center, Mount Pleasant, Texas. A Since implementing best practices related to maternal hemorrhaging, Titus Regional Medical Center’s maternal morbidity rate related to blood loss has been reduced significantly. The hospital employs a stage-based approach to maternal hemorrhage, simulates for staff emergent hemorrhage situations and provides intense education regarding the physiology of a hemorrhage.

Community Health Workers at Northeastern - Vermont Regional Hospital, St. Johnsbury, Vt. Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital (NVRH), St. Johnsbury, VT and its Community Connections (CoCo) program has been on the vanguard of the CHW initiative. Their outcomes are impressive.

Artificial Intelligence in Rural Health Care: Where to Begin? >Artificial Intelligence (AI) means many things to many people, but to the consumer it means convenience. At Winona (Minn.) Health, AI has been introduced as a way to reduce cost, improve access and improve the patient’s experience of care. To date, that experience is running 97% favorable.

Building Primary Care from the Ground Up: Training Rural Residents in Williston, ND. Entering its fifth year, the program has graduated 8 family physicians four of whom have stayed and practice in western North Dakota.

Providence Health-Fairfield Emergency Room Winnsboro, SC Hospital-based Freestanding ED. Perhaps not the first choice, but ultimately the best choice for this rural community, the new ER stabilizes what has been a steady decline in health care services in Winnsboro over the past few years.

Walking the Path toward Self-determination and Improving the Populations’ Health the “Nuka” Way. Cherokee Indian Hospital strives to be a “Cherokee community” hospital continuously improving the health status of the tribe and sensitive to the culture and values of the community.

Dare County’s Employee Wellness Program at Outer Banks Hospital. The hospital’s collaboration with the Dare County Department of Public Health − in particular, as a contractor for the county’s employee health and wellness plan – provides a potent example of how hospitals in rural areas can make the most of local partnerships to improve the health and well-being of the communities they serve.

The Value Initiative Members in Action: Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center – Lebanon, N.H.

The Value Initiative Members in Action: Redesign the Delivery System: Purchase of Retail Pharmacy Enhances Services to the Community

The Value Initiative Members in Action: Presbyterian Healthcare Services – Albuquerque, NM

The Value Initiative Issue Brief 4: How Rural Hospitals Improve Value and Affordability

Related Resources

Advancing Health Podcast
Public
AHA has compiled several case examples demonstrating the struggles and successes of rural hospitals battling COVID-19 in their communities. These have been…
Special Bulletin
Member
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Sept. 3 released its Rural Action Plan, which outlines upcoming policy and program initiatives to support…
Letter/Comment
Public
Letter from AHA to President Donald Trump urging additional support for rural hospitals and health systems.
Advancing Health Podcast
Public
In this Members in Action podcast featuring maternal and child health efforts, Aisha Syeda, Program Manager at the American Hospital Association is speaking…
Case Studies
Members in Action Case Study On June 4, Lincoln County Public Health (LCPH) recorded an outbreak of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Newport, Oregon, located about…
Special Bulletin
This document includes AHA’s analysis of a new Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services demonstration model, the Community Health Access and Rural…