Application FAQs

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

CORH’s mission is to assist hospitals and their communites 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; 25 hospitals will receive Tier II status.

None, this application is for technical assistance only. No money will be awarded by CORH.

You can call CORH at 1-855-234-0712 or email

Each selected hospital will receive 1 year of technical assistance as well as an additional year of Alumni support.

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, hospital board challenges, grant writing, and many more.

Program Services Tier I Tier II Year 3 Tier III Alumni Publicly Available
Site Visits x
ECHO Participation x x x For year following TA year
Monthly Webinars x x x x x
Virtual Quality Improvement Project x x
Regular Phone Calls x x Monthly Office Hours
Toolbox Access x x x x x
Grant Writing Master Class x x For a fee, limited availability For a fee, limited availability
Provider Retention & Recruitment Course x x
Hospital Marketing Master Class x x
Hospital Board Education Course x x For a fee, limited availability For a fee, limited availability
The DASH Tool x x x Free for 2 years after CORH participation For a fee
Financial Analysis x x
LinQ, QI Portal x x x Free for 2 years after CORH participation


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 Apply Now tab. The first line has a link you can click and get a PDF version of the application.

  1. 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.
  2. All Critical Access Hospitals are eligible.
  3. Hospitals operated by tribes and tribal organizations under the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act are also eligible.
  4. Rural hospitals evaluating health care services provided to the community which may exclude in-patient services, i.e., “right servicing” its local health care services.
  5. If unsure of rural eligibility, please check the FORHP Eligibility Analyzer at

Entities already receiving HRSA funding are excluded from participating. SHIP and FLEX program participants ARE eligible.

All applicants, regardless of selection status, will receive notification in August of their application year.

The deadline for all year 4 applications is Jul 31, 2021.

Once a hospital is notified they are selected into the VRHAP, they will receive a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to be immediately signed and returned followed by a welcome call.

Selected hospitals are expected to take an active role in the program. Initial welcome phone calls, ECHO sessions and bi-monthly update calls are scheduled with all hospitals. This is an active working group, not a passive seminar series. It is expected that selected hospitals take an active role in the program.

All questions on the application are mandatory. If you need clarification or support answering a question please contact us at 1-855-234-0712. 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 here and register for upcoming webinars here.

CORH hosts at least one webinar per month, focused on a topic of interest brought forth by one of our Tier I or Tier II 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 Upcoming Events page on the CORH website.

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


ECHO sessions are limited to Tier I, Tier II, and Tier III hospitals. CORH alumni participants may also participate in 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.