The Massachusetts Rural Hospital Flexibility Program (Flex), managed by the State Office of Rural Health, is funded through a grant from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy at HRSA. The Flex Program has a strong partnership with the small hospitals in rural Massachusetts communities, the Massachusetts Hospital Association, MassPRO (the QIO), and many other state programs and external partners.

The primary aim of the Flex Program is to support improved stability and viability of the 3 Massachusetts Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) and 7 other small hospitals in rural communities in order to improve access to quality health services across the continuum of care in rural communities. The Program seeks to improve access to health services in rural communities, support the sustainability and development of rural healthcare organizations, develop collaborative local rural health networks, and strengthen EMS. The Flex Program has been an important mechanism for improving the rural health infrastructure in our state by strengthening small rural hospitals helping them operate as the hub of a more collaborative and integrated delivery system.

In the next two years we will support the development of services at our CAHs and other small rural hospitals and build better systems of integrated care. As our program has matured, we are now also emphasizing rural healthcare quality and performance improvement, rural health network development, improved EMS integration and strengthening of the EMS workforce, and specialized HIT, chronic disease, and rural health workforce initiatives.

This information is provided by the State Office of Rural Health within the Department of Public Health.