Rural Health Operations

Register, Host, Attend!

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Rural Health is proud to recognize the selfless, community-minded spirit of health professionals and volunteers in North Carolina communities during National Rural Health Day 2022. National Rural Health Day falls on the third Thursday in November each year and recognizes the efforts of those serving the health needs of 4.6 million people who live in one of the state’s 80 rural counties across North Carolina.

2022 National Rural Health Day Celebration (NC): Driving Change - Local Heroes Going the Extra Mile
Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022
9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Please join us as we celebrate National Rural Health Day on November 17th, 2022. Click here for registration and additional details!

As part of National Rural Health Day, this virtual event is an opportunity to “Celebrate the Power of Rural” by honoring the selfless, community-minded spirit that prevails in rural America. NRHD showcases the efforts of rural health care providers, State Offices of Rural Health and other rural stakeholders to address the unique health care challenges rural citizens face today and in the future.

A special presentation of the National Rural Health Day Gubernatorial Proclamation will be made, recognition of North Carolina’s Community Star and a celebration of hometown heroes. The event is sponsored by the NC Rural Health Association, NC Office of Rural Health, NC Rural Center and Hometown Strong.

Rural health stakeholders can explore a partnership pledge, showcase individuals and organizations selected as 2022 Community Stars and provide visitors with a variety of tools, including social media posts to help #PowerofRural trend on social media to bring greater awareness.

Please share with colleagues and organizations in your network.

What We Do

The Rural Health Operations Team works to connect organizations and rural primary healthcare sites to resources to increase access to care, coordinate existing services, support quality clinical care and accomplish outcomes utilizing standard processes with the goal of building strong, coordinated networks in communities while avoiding duplication of efforts. The Rural Health Operations team provides support for the operations of community-based primary health clinics sites throughout the state ensuring the provision of basic health care. The Operations Team 

  • Administers the State Designated Rural Health Center Program
  • Provides technical assistance to State Designated Rural Health Centers, Rural Health Clinics, and safety net organizations
  • Provides quarterly trainings and newsletters to State Designated Rural Health Centers and Rural Health Clinics

Also, the Rural Health Operations team is available to refer organizations to resources regarding the following:

  • Healthy Opportunities 
  • Telehealth 
  • Clinical Quality
  • EHR Utilization
  • Chronic Care Management

Rural Health Center Program

NC ORH assists underserved communities and populations with developing innovative strategies for improving access, quality, and cost-effectiveness of health care.  Distribution of primary care providers in North Carolina has historically been skewed toward cities and larger towns.  Rural residents, who often face transportation issues, find accessing primary care services difficult.  Through the establishment of State Designated Rural Health Centers (SDRHC), NC ORH partners with local communities to provide funding to improve ability to serve underserved populations who would otherwise be unable to access needed primary care services due to geographic, economic, or other barriers. Thus, SDRHCs have become an integral part of the health care safety net for North Carolina’s rural and underserved residents.  

The primary purpose of the state designation is to support new access points and stabilize current access in care sites that do not already receive support through the Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) designation. However, funding is available to support and sustain access to care in rural areas that may face sufficient challenges without the SDRHC funding. Recognizing the need for access to healthcare as the demographics of NC, as well as access points, change (due to FQHC growth and multi-site practice locations) is necessary for incubating and supporting the growth of new access points for health care in rural NC.   

ORH defines an SDRHC as a health care safety net organization that is a 501(c)3 non-profit, community-owned organization with an active board that has as its primary mission to provide primary health care services to those residing in its community.  SDRHCs must be located within communities that are both rural and underserved and must currently be delivering primary health care services. 

State Designated Rural Health Centers offer high quality primary health care services to all residents.

  • Rural Health Centers are in rural communities that are medically underserved.
  • All Rural Health Centers accept Medicaid, Medicare, and private insurance.
  • The organization operating the Rural Health Center is a 501(c) 3 non-profit community owned organization.
  • The Rural Health Center administers the Office of Rural Health’s (ORH) Medical Access Plan (MAP) and/or Behavioral Health (BH) to uninsured individuals in the service area who meet certain criteria.
  • MAP eligibility is based on income.
  • MAP patients pay a co-payment. These visits are reimbursable at a rate of $100.00 per MAP encounter. BH visits are reimbursable at a rate of $75.00 per encounter.

Related Program Resources

SDRHC Manual

Rural Health Centers Program Profile

There are 16 organizations identified as SDRHCS supporting 18 sites across NC.

2022 MAP/BH Manual

Organizations interested in becoming a State Designated Rural Health Center must complete an application. The website will be updated when the application period opens.

Current ORH Grant Opportunities
Grant opportunities available to current state designated sites: Rural Health MAP, Behavioral Health, Project Funds, Capital projects.

Contact Information

Dorothea Brock, Program Manager

Beth Blaise, Rural Health Operations Specialist - Regions 3 & 5

Kimberly R. McNeil, Rural Health Operations Specialist - Regions 4 & 6

Justin Kearley, Rural Health Operations Specialist - Regions 1 & 2

Medicaid Regions Map

Trainings and Webinars

Rural Resources