Missouri Highlands Health Care (MHHC) is an established Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), and operates as a non-profit organization offering services to medically underserved rural areas in southern Missouri. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and is the primary federal agency for improving access to health care services for people who are uninsured, isolated or medically vulnerable. HRSA utilizes Federal grant funding to offset the costs of uncompensated care, enabling services and other operational costs called The Delta States Rural Development Network Grant Program.
The Delta States Rural Development Network Grant Program provides funding to Missouri Highlands Health Care and consortium network partners who focus efforts on improving diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, acute ischemic stroke. Network partners in Missouri’s southern region (Region A) include two faith-based organizations and the following counties: Butler, Carter, Douglas, Howell, Iron, Oregon, Ozark, Reynolds, Ripley, Shannon, Texas, Wayne, and Wright.
Analysis of data available through the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services concludes that residents of the Missouri Delta Region A are more likely to report fair to poor general health status; more likely to report obesity, poor nutrition, physical inactivity, and smoking; less likely to receive appropriate preventive screenings; and more likely to suffer high rates of chronic disease and disability. Improving these outcomes will require patients’ full engagement in prevention, decision-making, and self-management activities.
The activities funded by the Delta Project will target the medically indigent or individuals with or at risk of developing chronic health diseases that disproportionately affect residents of Missouri Delta Region A.
The overall purpose of the Delta States Rural Development Network Grant Program is to help organizations address unmet local health care needs and prevalent health disparities through the development of new and innovative projects. The funded projects include activities focused on producing changes in one or more of the following areas:
- Knowledge and understanding
- Attitudes of consumers
- Behaviors of consumers
- Clinical biometrics (e.g. BMI, weight, A1C, blood pressure)
- Policies and procedures
- Systems (i.e. improved coordination among health and social service agencies)
Network members propose the following multi-faceted projects to address health concerns in the 16 county regions:
- The Care Coordination Model – Deploy Community Health Workers (CHW) throughout the 16 counties, providing services onsite at county health departments, community health center locations, and two faith-based community organizations.
- Chronic Disease Management Model – Incorporate specialist referral financial assistance to patients diagnosed with chronic diseases who are under-insured or do not have insurance coverage.
- Health Literacy Model – Health literacy is the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions. Network partners will implement and streamline health literacy information to incorporate best practices in patient education and service delivery.