Small Rural Hospital Improvement Program


The Center for Rural Health (AzCRH) at The University of Arizona Health Sciences (UAHS) Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health was awarded a three-year $348,251 grant by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to support the Arizona Small Rural Hospital Improvement Grant Program (AzSHIP). The grant supports 13 small rural hospitals under 50 beds for health system reforms such as value-based purchasing programs, accountable care organizations, and payment bundling. Eleven of the 13 hospitals are federally designated Critical Access Hospitals (25 beds or less, 35 miles or more from another hospital).

The 13 participating small rural hospitals include for-profit, not-for-profit, and tribal organizations that provide short-term, general acute hospital and 24/7 emergency care for their communities, and play crucial roles in assuring access to quality health care, improving population health outcomes, and contributing to a rural community’s jobs, economic health, and development. They are in nine of Arizona’s 15 counties.

The three key AzSHIP focus areas include investing in:

  1. Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) activities to improve data collection and facilitate quality improvement and required reporting
  2. Accountable Care Organizations (ACO) or Shared Savings activities to develop and implement programs
  3. Prospective Payment System (PPS) or Payment Bundling (PB) activities to improve the hospital’s financial performance.


AzSHIP tools and trainings include: quality data collection training, Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) Survey training, pharmacy services, disease registry usage training, telemedicine/mobile health equipment, and revenue cycle management training and implementation.