Rural hospitals working with a New York-based PPO will benefit from $1 million in grants over five years to help them win national accreditation and support other quality initiatives.
MultiPlan, which contracts its preferred provider network to third-party administrators and employers, is funding the program. Its intent is to improve customer satisfaction with its rural delivery network, a spokesman said.
MultiPlan's partner in the project is the National Rural Health Association, which will provide advice and administrative support. One-fourth to one-third of the NRHA's 300 hospital members are part of MultiPlan. The two companies will discuss the grant program and related rural health initiatives later this week at the NRHA annual meeting in Seattle.
Estimates show up to 30% of rural hospitals lack accreditation by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, said Lawrence Lehman, M.D., MultiPlan's senior vice president and corporate medical director. Lehman said there's no evidence of widespread quality problems at unaccredited facilities, but the accreditation process often provides hospitals with useful tips on how to improve services.
MultiPlan expects to award 10 to 15 one-year grants of $10,000 to $20,000 for accreditation efforts through year-end, he said.
The costs of accreditation can be staggering for a small facility, with direct costs usually exceeding $20,000. The size of the grants awarded will depend on whether a facility has access to matching funds.