State Office of Rural Health

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State and Federal ProgramsVirginia State Office of Rural Health logo


VA-SORH accomplishes its mission through several rural health programs:



VA-SORH Innovative Programming Awards

For 30 years, the VA-SORH has provided funding that bridges small, rural communities to state and federal resources with the goal of developing long-term solutions to address the root causes of rural health disparities. VA-SORH accomplishes this goal by awarding funds to grant sub-recipients or “grantees”. Each grantee utilizes the funding to implement innovative programming in rural communities across the Commonwealth.

2022-2023 VA-SORH Grantee: Healthy Harvest Community Garden

To learn more about the Healthy Harvest Community Garden, click here.

Photo of the Healthy Harvest Community Garden sign Photo of Healthy Harvest Community Garden produce Photo of Healthy Harvest Community Garden staff member holding a large zucchini Photo of Healthy Harvest Community Garden crops



CDC Virginia Rural Response & Relief (CDC-VR3) Program

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Center for State, Tribal, Local, and Territorial Support (CSTLTS) has awarded funding to 108 recipients of a two-year, non-research grant — CDC-RFA-OT21-2103: National Initiative to Address COVID-19 Health Disparities Among Populations at High-Risk and Underserved, Including Racial and Ethnic Minority Populations and Rural Communities.

The allocation of Virginia’s rural carveout amount is facilitated by the VA-SORH and is distributed equally to 18 Local Health Districts with an eligible rural footprint according to the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy’s FY21 definition of rural. The CDC Virginia Rural Response & Relief (CDC-VR3) Program, will address COVID-19-related health disparities and advance health equity by expanding state, local, US territorial and freely associated state health department capacity and services to prevent and control COVID-19 infection or transmission among populations at higher risk and that are underserved, including racial and ethnic minority groups and people living in rural communities.CDC Virginia Rural Response & Relief (CDC-VR3) Program logo

For more information about the CDC-VR3 Program, click here.

For more information about Rural Health Partner Mobilization Mini-Grants, click here.



Small Rural Hospital Improvement Program (SHIP)

The HRSA Federal Office of Rural Health Policy’s (FORHP) Small Rural Hospital Improvement (SHIP) grant program provides funding for participating rural Virginia hospitals with 49 staffed beds or less, to support activities related to:

  1. Value-Based Purchasing (VBP)
  2. Accountable Care Organization (ACO) or Shared Savings Plan (SSP)
  3. Payment Bundling (PB) or Prospective Payment Systems (PPS)

The SHIP program enables small rural hospitals:

  • To become or join accountable care organizations (ACOs);
  • To participate in shared savings programs; and
  • To purchase health information technology (hardware and software), equipment, and/or training to comply with quality improvement activities such as advancing patient care information, promoting interoperability, and payment bundling.

The overarching goal of Virginia’s SHIP program is to enhance the health or rural communities by assisting rural hospitals with the transition to value-based care models.

For more information about SHIP, click here.



Rural Emergency Hospitals (REH)

Rural Emergency Hospitals (REHs) are a new provider type established by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 to address the growing concern over closures of rural hospitals. The REH designation provides an opportunity for Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) and certain rural hospitals (50 beds or less) to avert potential closure and continue to provide essential services for the communities they serve.

For more information about REHs, click here.



Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program (FLEX)

The Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program (FLEX) is a federal funding program designed to improve and sustain access to appropriate and quality health care services in rural areas. Established by the Balanced Budget Act (BBA) of 1997:

  • Supports the conversion and designation of small rural hospitals to Critical Access Hospital (CAH) status;
  • Assists in developing and maintaining quality health care network systems;
  • Strengthens and further integrates Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in rural areas; and
  • Facilitates the development of state specific model community-based collaborative systems in rural areas.

The Virginia FLEX Program exists to assist Virginia Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) in moving toward a value-based payment model that provides high quality and appropriate care to all. The goal of the Virginia Flex program is to partner with Critical Access Hospitals to improve the quality of care, financial and operational performance, and population health needs of their communities.

For more information about FLEX, click here.



Workforce Incentive Programs

The Commonwealth of Virginia offers several incentive programs to attract primary health professionals to Virginia’s underserved areas. These programs not only assist with paying down outstanding medical education debt but also afford individuals an opportunity to become part of a community and provide care to deserving populations.

For more information about available workforce incentive programs, click here.