Application FAQs


The Center for Optimizing Rural Health (CORH) is a technical advisory center with three types of support: on-site, remote facilitated assistance, and self-directed access to best practices, resources and tools.

CORH’s mission is to assist hospitals and their communities to address economic challenges, understand community needs and resources, and find ways to ensure hospitals and communities can keep needed care locally.

Each year, 30 hospitals are selected through an application process to participate in the Vulnerable Rural Hospital Assistance Program. Five hospitals will receive Tier I status, and 25 hospitals will receive Tier II status.

Tier I status hospitals receive on-site and remote technical assistance. Tier II status hospitals receive remote technical assistance. Common technical assistance support requests include finance challenges (chargemaster, coding, billing), community engagement, recruitment and retention, hospital board challenges, grant writing, and many other topics. Tier III status hospitals also receive limited remote technical assistance upon request but without access to the courses offered to Tiers I and II hospitals.


Program Services Tier I Tier II Tier III Alumni Publicly Available
Site Visits X
Project ECHO™ Participation X X X X
Monthly Webinars X X X X X
4-6 Week Check-in Calls X X
Quarterly Networking/ Mentoring Sessions X X X
Technical Assistance Call (request initiated by hospital) X
Grant Writing Support X X
CAH Revenue Cycle A-Z Course X X
PPS Hospital Revenue Cycle A-Z Course X X
Recruitment and Retention Course X X
Marketing Your Hospital Course X X
Hospital Board Education Course X X For a fee, limited availability For a fee, limited availability For a fee, limited availability
Financial Analysis X X
Toolbox Access X X X X X

No money is awarded by CORH. This application is for technical assistance only.

You can call CORH at 855-234-0712 or email

Each selected hospital will receive one year of technical assistance.


We recommend each facility fill out the application completely and under Distance from Applicant community to nearest hospital access, there is a question regarding experience partnering with proximate facilities.  Please have all facilities indicate they are partners and send us an email at with all partners listed so that we can look at your separate facilities as one application.

No there is not a set word or character limit to the questions.  If you happen to reach a limit before you are satisfied with your answer, please email us the rest of your answer with your hospital name so that we can ensure it is seen along with the rest of your application materials.

Hospitals selected in previous years are eligible to apply again in subsequent years.

Yes. Click on the Application Portal tab on the CORH webpage. To the right of the page there is an orange box that says “Application PDF”. Click the box to print or download a PDF copy of the application. We encourage you to use the PDF version to include a variety of leaders and stakeholders for information gathering. Then the online application can be completed in one sitting.

  • A PPS hospital defined by federal or state as rural. See the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) tool for federal eligibility (link below), or check with your State Office of Rural Health for state specific definition.
  • All Critical Access Hospitals are eligible.
  • Hospitals operated by tribes and tribal organizations under the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act are also eligible.
  • Rural hospitals evaluating health care services provided to the community which may exclude in-patient services, i.e., “right sizing” its local health care services.
  • If unsure of rural eligibility, please check the FORHP Eligibility Analyzer at

If you are participating in the Delta Region Health Systems TA or Rural Healthcare Provider Transitions (formerly SRHT) program, HRSA has determined you are not eligible to participate in VRHAP.

Note: Hospitals participating in Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Grant or Small Rural Hospital Improvement Project funds resources are eligible.

All applicants, regardless of selection status, will receive notification in August 2021.

Year 5 of the VRHAP begins September 1, 2022.

The deadline for submitting year 4 applications is July 31, 2022.

Once hospitals have been notified of their selection status into the VRHAP, the CORH team will reach out to Tier I and II hospitals to schedule a welcome call. Tier III hospitals will be invited to a group welcome Zoom session.

Selected hospitals are encouraged to take an active role in our resources, including the initial welcome phone calls, ECHO sessions, 4-6 week update calls, quarterly networking/mentoring sessions, and courses on frequently requested topics which are offered to all Tier I and II hospitals. Hospitals are not required to participate in every activity offered, but this program consists of an active working group; it is not a passive seminar series. The hospitals with higher levels of engagement have consistently gained the most benefit from the program.

If you need clarification or support answering a question, please contact us at 1-855-234-0712. If you cannot answer a question, you may skip it and go to the next question. We encourage hospitals to print the application prior to completing it and use it as a working document in preparation to completing the online application.

If selected, hospitals are featured in a press release by the Center for Optimizing Rural Health. Hospitals may opt to be named by state (i.e. Utah Hospital #1) or by a self-designated name.

Yes. Facilities that are planning to close can still apply for technical assistance. Technical Assistance can help with your closure transition to ensure continued access to health care for your community.


The monthly webinars hosted by CORH are free to anyone that wishes to register. You can also view past webinars and register for upcoming webinars here. A hospital does NOT have to be accepted into the program to register for and take part in the monthly webinars.

CORH hosts at least one webinar per month, focused on a topic of interest brought forth by one of our cohort hospitals. We also host additional hot topic webinars and calls throughout the year. You can keep track of upcoming events here.

Register for upcoming webinars and events on the Events page on the CORH website.

You can watch past webinars on our YouTube channel here or on our website under Events.


Hospitals from Tier I and II in the active cohort year are invited to participate in ECHO™ sessions. CORH alumni participants are invited to participate in ECHO sessions held during the 12 months following their cohort year.

Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO) – The heart of the ECHO™ model is its hub-and-spoke knowledge-sharing networks, led by expert teams who use multi-point videoconferencing to conduct virtual education.

Each month you will be expected to attend a one-hour ECHO™ session along with other hospitals in your cohort. After a short didactic and challenge profile by one of the hospitals in the cohort, you will provide feedback based on your experiences, ask questions to further the conversation and make suggestions to the challenge presenter. All hospitals will be the ‘challenge presenter’ at least once during their cohort year. As a challenge presenter you will submit a challenge or struggle that your hospital is experiencing and allow the other participants to offer feedback and solutions to your challenge.