MeHAF Promotes Innovation in Rural Health Systems

MeHAF Promotes Innovation in Rural Health Systems

The Maine Health Access Foundation (MeHAF) announced today that it has awarded $240,000 to five organizations around the state to develop cross-sector collaborative approaches to improve health and health care access in Maine’s rural communities. Three “Catalyst” grantees will initiate new collaborative efforts, while two “Acceleration” grants will support existing collaborations to pilot programs that test novel ways of delivering essential health services.

Following the closure of health facilities in a number of Maine’s rural communities, MeHAF took action to better understand the rural health system in Maine, particularly the challenges facing small and independent hospitals and other health care providers in rural areas. MeHAF engaged researchers at the University of Southern Maine to compile existing information from numerous sources into a Statewide View of Rural Health. County by county profiles provide a snapshot of the state of health and the health system to inform and promote local discussion and strategic planning.

Last November, MeHAF convened stakeholders for a statewide meeting, Advancing Rural Health System Transformation, with the goal of raising awareness of the issues and sharing innovative solutions underway in rural communities in Maine and around the nation. At the meeting, a series of Rural Health Innovation Briefs was released that highlight promising approaches. These white papers and meeting discussions built the foundation for this new initiative and grant program.

“We are pleased to support the collaborative planning and piloting of efforts to advance integration and strengthen health care services in the ways that will best meet rural communities’ needs.” said Barbara Leonard, MeHAF’s President and CEO. “We want people in rural Maine to be able to receive the high quality, affordable care they need close to home.”

Examples of grantee activities include: establishing or bringing new partners into a community coalition to focus on the rural healthcare system; building capacity through targeted operational and organizational integration; identifying and addressing service gaps; connecting this work with ongoing economic development planning; and educating and engaging the community.

List of MeHAF Rural Health Transformation Grants with local contact information:

Catalyst Grants:
Health Access Network, Inc. (HAN)
Rural Healthcare Integration Planning Collaborative $30,000
Project Contact: William Diggins, Chief Executive Officer, (207) 794-6700 x7506,

Mayo Regional Hospital - Mayo Community Outreach
Piscataquis Healthcare Collaborative $30,000
Project Contact: Hillary Starbird, Community Outreach Coordinator, (207) 564-4184,

Pines Health Services - Aroostook County Health Network (ACHN)
Continuum of Care Coordination in Aroostook County $30,000
Project Contact: Amy Adams, Project Director, (207) 498-2356 x2039,

Acceleration Grants:
Central Maine Healthcare Corportation
CMH Rural Health Transformation Initiative $75,000
Project Contact: Dervilla McCann, MD, Chief, Population Health, (207) 330-7740,

Healthy Acadia
Washington County Substance Use Response Initiative $75,000
Project Contact:  Elsie Flemings, Executive Director, (207) 669-2073,

MeHAF Media Contact: Charles Dwyer, Program Officer, (207) 620-8266 x 103,


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