Michigan Center for Rural Health
The Michigan Center for Rural Health is the only state organization dedicated solely to improving the health of Michigan’s rural residents. The MCRH plays a key role in rural health care by assisting in the creation and implementation of partnerships among non-profit groups, health departments, hospitals, government and academia to create new opportunities in quality of care, recruitment and retention of health care providers, distance education and emergency medical services.
The MCRH, under annual contract to the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH), serves as the Michigan State Office of Rural Health (SORH), as designated by the Office of Rural Health Policy within the US Health Resources and Services Administration, a Health and Human Service agency. This activity is supported by a state/federal cooperative agreement. As the SORH, the Center coordinates resources and activities statewide on the development of a comprehensive approach to rural health care delivery, collects and disseminates information concerning rural health issues, provides technical and other assistance and support for the development of services in rural Michigan, promotes recruitment and retention of health professionals, acts as an advocate between state and federal agencies and rural communities, and strengthens state/local/federal partnerships.
The MCRH, under an annual contract with the MDCH, coordinates the development and implementation of Michigan’s Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program (Critical Access Hospital “CAH”).
Michigan now has thirty-four CAHs, all 25 beds or smaller, all in rural communities, all networked with a tertiary care facility, and all providing 24 hour access to emergency care. Each rural community served by a CAH has been the recipient of hospital focused community health grants for network development; medical staff needs assessment, comprehensive recruitment and retention services, quality improvement programming, and EMS coordination. Additionally, the Michigan Flex Program supports the Michigan CAH Quality Network (MICAH). MICAH meets quarterly, collects and reviews health indicators, and posts best practices. Through MICAHs efforts Michigan CAHs have lowered the time to treat community-acquired pneumonia below the national and State average.