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Health care in Maine is a Conundrum—especially for rural communities. On the one hand, the health care sector is the state’s largest source of jobs, and in many rural counties, health care makes up a disproportionally higher share of overall employment.

The health sector provides many meaningful opportunities for employment for rural community members. On the other hand, issues like the lack of access to affordable care, the shortages of health care providers, the rapid changes in health care payment and delivery, can take their toll on the quality of life in rural communities. 

To promote the development of a common understanding of the issues and potential solutions, MeHAF has launched the Rural Health Transformation initiative.  The aim is to support and strengthen place-based strategies so that local people are fully engaged in the process, and decisions about how the current rural health system will evolve aren’t controlled by others outside rural communities. 

MeHAF’s Rural Health Transformation initiative includes the following:

  • Grants: MeHAF grants focus on the development of policies and programs that strengthen network development and service coordination in rural communities. For a list of currently active grantees, click here.
  • Technical assistance and grantee support:  Rural Health grantees participate in shared learning opportunities that feature local and national experts, network development and peer-to-peer sharing.
  • Stakeholder engagement:  MeHAF supports rural innovation developed with the community, not for the community; providers, patients and other community members are engaged throughout planning, implementation and evaluation of each project. 
  • Sharing what we're learning:  Visit Learning+Resources to find our county-by-county Profiles in Rural Health, and a series of briefs: Innovations in Rural Health System Development. Use the key word search to find all items related to “rural health.”
  • Convening: MeHAF hosted a day – long conference, Advancing Rural Health System Transformation, in November 2016.

For more information, contact Program Officer Charles Dwyer.

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