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Indiana State Department of Health

Chronic Disease > Primary Care & Rural Health > Office of Primary Care > Indiana State Office of Rural Health Programs Indiana State Office of Rural Health Programs

State Office of Rural Health (SORH)

This matching grant program began in 1991 and has accomplished the creation of state offices in all 50 states. Each office's mission is to help their individual rural communities build health care delivery systems. They accomplish this mission by: collecting and disseminating information; providing technical assistance; helping to coordinate rural health interests state-wide; and by supporting efforts to improve recruitment and retention of health professionals. These offices created the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health to ensure that the states' perspectives on rural health were recognized nationally.

The mission of the Indiana State Office of Rural Health is to enhance the growth of public health services, funding sources, and education opportunities for every Indiana rural resident.  Established in 1992, SORH is located in Indiana State Department of Health’s (ISDH) Primary Care Office.  The office is supervised by the Director of the Primary Care Office. The Director of SORH oversees the Flex grant and the submission of all sub-contracts from the Flex grant.  

Since SORH’s first award in 1997, the Indiana SORH has successfully administered the grant as indicated in the evaluations and grant award letters.  SORH continues to prove its capabilities of administering a successful grant through the leadership of its rural partners.   

The Indiana State Rural Health Plan

     2011 Indiana State Rural Health Plan


Indiana Rural Health Association

Lugar Center for Rural Health

Indiana Health Education Centers

Indiana Primary Health Care Association/3RNet

Indiana Hospital Association

Rural Hospital Flexibility Program (FLEX)

The Direction of Flex in Indiana for 2008-2010

The primary goal of the Indiana Flex program is to become a leader in supporting rural health providers and rural residents through the enhancement of quality and performance improvement activities.  In order to accomplish the primary goal, three secondary goals were established in collaboration with community partners.  Those goals are:  improve and integrate emergency medical services (EMS), provide high quality care to rural Hoosiers; develop and implement rural health networks; and support CAHs and their providers by integrating telehealth in rural Indiana.  Flex grant activities will support the achievement of these secondary goals in order to reach the collective vision of excellence in rural health in Indiana.  A portion of the 2008-2009 grant will be used to fund a statewide trauma assessment by the American College of Surgeons (ACS) which will serve as the backbone for future trauma projects.  An overall Flex program evaluation will be completed to provide an ongoing evaluation of the Flex program. 

Major Accomplishments of Flex: 2007-2008

During the past year, the Flex program funding has been responsible for providing CAHs with educational and network development opportunities; providing improved access to mental health care services via telemedicine to inmates at a correctional facility and to patients at a Critical Access Hospital, and assessing rural EMS and projects involving health information technologies. Other Flex accomplishments include: quality improvement outcomes from statewide projects that increased  participation in Hospital Compare, benchmarking, and the Balanced Scorecard which resulted in better patient care for individual patients; the Rural Trauma Team Development Course (RTTDC) and other trauma trainings that increased the efficiency of resource utilization, improved the level of care provided to injured patients in a rural environment, and took a positive step toward Indiana’s development of a statewide trauma system. 

Small Rural Hospital Improvement Grant Program (SHIP)

The purpose of the SHIP is to help small rural hospitals do any or all of the following: pay for costs related to implementation of prospective payment systems (PPS), comply with provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and reduce medical errors and support quality improvement.  The SHIP Grant Program was first authorized by the Balanced Budget Refinement Act of 1999 of the Social Security Act.

Eligible hospitals apply for this grant program, through their respective State Office of Rural Health (SORH), which is housed within ISDH.  Indiana receives funding based on the number of eligible hospitals that apply.  The SORH distributes the funding evenly to each eligible hospital; awards of approximately $9,000 are given per hospital. The SHIP grant program funds are geared towards assisting small rural hospitals that are essential access points for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries. Eligible small rural hospitals are non-Federal, short-term general acute care facilities that are located in a rural area. 

The Indiana State Office of Rural Health received 33 applications for the 2008-2009 SHIP grant program. This represents a 100% return rate from the previous year. The two critical access hospitals abstaining from applying for SHIP funding have never applied despite the SORHs repeated invitations. 

Participating hospitals will be using grant funds to address unmet needs reflected by a needs analysis survey conducted in 2007 and incorporated in their applications for SHIP funding.  The Indiana SORH proposes that the needs enumerated in the report relate to the SHIP’s purpose of reducing medical errors and Quality Improvement (QI) efforts.  Hospitals’ attention to this SHIP purpose, as demonstrated by their funding requests, has increased every year over the last three years. 


The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) Trauma System Advisory Task Force, organized in May, 2004, has broad representation from numerous organizations and individuals interested in developing a statewide trauma care system, with more than 100 people currently involved.  Public Law 155, enacted in 2006, designated ISDH as the lead agency for a state trauma care system. 



American Telemedicine Association

National Rural Health Association

Rural Health Resource Center

Rural Assistance Center

Rural Health Research Gateway

The Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research

Federal Grant Opportunities

Critical Access Hospital Program Information