|MeritCare Network receives Making a Difference Award|
MeritCare’s Regional Critical Access Hospital Network, Fargo, received the 2009 North Dakota Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program’s Making a Difference Award.
The award has been designed by the North Dakota Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility (Flex) Program for critical access hospitals that are able to demonstrate that a program or service originally funded or supported with Flex funds is still making a difference to the community and service areas. As a part of the award, the MeritCare Network received a $12,000 grant to enhance the network’s efforts. The Flex Program is funded by the federal Office of Rural Health Policy, which is located in the Health Resources and Services Administration, in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
MeritCare’s network has grown since 2002 from seven hospital memberships to nineteen, covering both North Dakota and Minnesota. The network serves approximately 186,000 rural residents. This network laid the foundation for the development of the now statewide North Dakota Critical Access Hospital Quality Network. The MeritCare network’s accomplishments are many, including focused efforts around coordinating patient care with experts and hospitals, education, and improved care of cardiac and trauma patients. The Flex program interprets this award as a formal acknowledgement of a “best practice.”
The Flex Program is administered by the Center for Rural Health at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences together with the North Dakota Healthcare Review, Inc., the North Dakota Department of Health, and the North Dakota Healthcare Association.
The award is presented annually as part of the Dakota Conference on Rural and Public Health, which is facilitated by the Center for Rural Health. This year’s conference, scheduled for April 1–3 in Mandan, was canceled because many of the conference’s participants were providing support during the statewide emergency from flooding and severe weather.
-- Denis F. MacLeod, Communications Specialist, Center for Rural Health, firstname.lastname@example.org, 701-777-3300