Rural Health Plan 2005-2007

Rural Health Plan 2005-2007

The Arizona Rural Health Plan 2005-07

 The Arizona Rural Health Plan 2005-2007 provides a road map on how to strengthen the rural health infrastructure in the state as well as how to enhance access to health services by rural residents. It reflects Arizona's unique rural, cultural, and geographic characteristics, including 21 federally recognized America Indian tribes and the state's 350-mile wide contiguous border with Mexico. The Arizona Rural Health Plan was developed through a statewide effort that included an advisory committee representing rural health experts, health providers, and policy makers.

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The objectives and strategies identified within are intended to guide actions by policy makers, multiple agencies, health providers, and community-based organizations throughout the State. By selecting among the objectives, agencies and organizations can strategically plan to 1) modify current health policies and develop new ones, 2) develop rural health planning and program development, and 3) measure and monitor change within their chosen focus areas.

The Arizona Rural Health Office team has purposefully not prioritized the objectives or strategies that follow. Each agency or organization that chooses to adopt components of the Arizona Rural Health Plan must prioritize the objectives according to their own strategic plan.

During the first developmental phase of the Arizona Rural Health Plan, the Southwest Border Rural Health Research Center, Rural Health Office, UA Zuckerman College of Public Health administered a Delphi survey to rural health leaders throughout the state. The survey was intended to identify what were perceived as the most important rural health issues in the state.

The most frequently cited rural health issues were: 1) Rural health care workforce shortages; 2) Health care coverage; 3) Lack of behavioral/mental health services; 4) Diabetes; and 5) Dental/Oral health. These five issues are represented across the Arizona Rural Health Plan's three primary rural health areas: Accessibility, Availability, and Preventative Services.

This publication is comprised of three sections.

  • Section I contains an overview of the process that produced the Arizona Rural Health Plan, including a history of previous initiatives to produce a statewide plan for rural Arizona, the role of the Rural Health Plan Advisory Committee, and ways in which the Arizona Rural Health Plan can be used.
  • Section II contains a summary of characteristics of Arizona's population, health care coverage, health care infrastructure, and rural health.
  • Section III provides the results of the Arizona Rural Health Plan process: within 3 primary rural health areas, a collection of 14 focus areas and 39 specific, measurable objectives for bettering rural health in Arizona.

At the conclusion of this document, you will find a Utilization Report form. As agencies and organizations across the State choose to incorporate components of the Arizona Rural Health Plan into their activities, they are requested to complete and return the Utilization Report form. In 2006, the Arizona Rural Health Office will follow up with participating agencies to evaluate the degree of strategies from the plan being implemented and the results.

This publication and the subsequent success of the Arizona Rural Health Plan 2005-2007 depends upon generous sharing of information from multiple agencies and organizations. This document only begins to reflect the widespread input from rural constituencies across Arizona. We encourage all who read the Arizona Rural Health Plan 2005-2007 to forward to the Arizona Rural Health Office the Utilization Report form and other relevant material to support our ongoing efforts to provide rural communities, providers, and organizations with information that is accurate, timely, and useful.