Oregon Office of Rural Health

Listening Tours

2020 Rural Health Clinic Listening Tour

The Oregon Office of Rural Health (ORH) coordinates a listening tour of rural and frontier health facilities to discuss and share current challenges, and to encourage partner collaboration to address solutions. Each listening tour results in a report as well as follow-up activities to address the most pressing issues facing Oregon’s health care facilities.

Click on the years below to learn more about the facilities that held sessions, challenges discussed, and stakeholders who attended. The reports from 2017, 2016 and 2014 provide a summary of key findings. See what ORH did in 2018 and 2019 follow-up years to address the workforce challenge area identified in 2017.

Back in late February, the Oregon Office of Rural Health (ORH) began planning and outreach for the 2020 Rural Health Clinic (RHC) Listening Tour. When the coronavirus pandemic broke out, these efforts were put on hold. Our top priority is to help protect our communities and staff. As such, ORH will not conduct an in person listening tour this year as we originally envisioned. Please know that we plan to coordinate an in person RHC Listening Tour in 2021.

In lieu of this year’s listening tour, we are providing special technical assistance/training to address your pressing needs this summer. We request your input on where to place these programming efforts. Please take a few moments (~ 5 minutes) to complete this survey by COB June 30, 2020! This will help us understand which of the options below will be most useful for your RHC: 

  1. Web-based training/technical assistance:  Last year, ORH reached out to RHCs to understand technical assistance needs. Web-based training was by far the preferred delivery mechanism and we will offer technical assistance/training via this mechanism. Your participation in the survey will help us focus online programming topics.
  2. OPTIONAL:  Do you still want to convey your most pressing concerns or challenges to one stakeholder group* this year? If so, are you interested in doing so virtually and with whom (hosted and coordinated by ORH)?

*Stakeholder groups include, but are not limited to, the following:  Payor agency/coordinated care organization, Oregon Health Authority, elected government officials, local public health department, workforce representatives, behavioral health representative/director, licensing board and local housing authority. This is your opportunity to listen to the needs of your local RHC.

Who, What & Why?

Rural Health Clinics:  Share your challenges directly with a stakeholder whose presence you request. As you consider participating, think about what you would like to address:

  • Are you struggling with workforce issues?
  • Do you want to convey questions and concerns to your CCO?
  • Is there a policy issue you want to discuss with elected officials?

Where & When?

Listening sessions will be held virtually. ORH will coordinate with clinics to schedule a listening session.

How to Participate

Please contact Rose Locklear | locklear@ohsu.edu | for more information.

2018 Follow-up Year

During the 2017 Rural & Frontier Listening Tour (RFLT), health care facilities across Oregon identified workforce challenges as a major issue. One of the workforce challenges identified was with regard to recruiting and retaining bedside nurses. In the subsequent years ORH partnered with the Oregon Center for Nursing (OCN) to explore the feasibility of implementing a nurse mentoring program at Oregon’s Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs). The purpose of this study was to assess Oregon CAHs’ interest in a nurse mentoring program, their capacity to support a mentoring program, the type of program desired, and an estimate on the cost to hospitals and other entities of implementing such a program. As a result of this study, ORH partnered with the University of Iowa’s Online Nurse Residency to provide nurse mentoring for interested Oregon CAHs.

2019 Follow-up Year

Scholarship opportunities for the University of Iowa’s Online Nurse Residency Program (IONRP) were offered to all Oregon Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) for their recently graduated, newly hired nurses. A total of eight CAHs expressed interest. ORH covered the cost of tuition for 19 nurses from these CAHs. Nurse residents will complete the IONRP course as well as a quality improvement/evidence-based final project. The year-long program takes place online with one-on-one check-ins between the nurse resident and the program mentor.  Education topics cover: Transition from Student to Professional Nurse; Communication; Responsibilities of the Professional Nurse; and Decision-Making at the Point of Care.

2017 Rural & Frontier Listening Tour (RFLT)

The 2017 report aimed to objectively address one of the challenges consistently raised during the RFLT—the lack of available information and clarity on the roles, responsibilities and authority of the various behavioral health providers (e.g. Local Mental Health Authority, County Mental Health Provider, Coordinated Care Organization, Hospital, Clinic).

The 2017 RFLT included 56 rural and frontier health care facilities:

  • 28 Rural Health Clinics
  • 11 Rural Clinics
  • 10 Critical Access Hospitals
  • 2 Type B Hospitals
  • 2 Type C Hospitals
  • 2 Federally Qualified Rural Health Clinics
  • 1 Jail Clinic

Twenty-five partnering stakeholders joined the tour by area of scope:

  • Coordinated Care Organizations (CCOs)
    • Regional CCOs; OHA Transformation Center
  • Health Policy
    • Representatives from the governor’s, senators; and state representatives’ offices; OHA Health Policy and Analytics
  • Oregon Workforce
    • Oregon Center for Nursing (OCN); Oregon State Board of Nursing (OSBN)
  • Advocacy, Research and Technology
    • Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems (OAHHS); OHA Health Information Technology; Oregon Rural Practice-Based Research Network (ORPRN)

Overview of identified challenges:

  • Practice sustainability
    • CAHs at risk of designation loss
    • Current population-based funding formulas are not sufficient or equitable in rural and frontier areas
    • Viability of the small, independent practice 
  • Available and affordable housing
  • Workforce challenges
    • Provider recruitment
    • Provider and leadership retention
  • Behavioral health
    • Authority, responsibility and coordination
    • Access and integration barriers
    • Funding model and reimbursement

2016 Rural & Frontier Listening Tour (RFLT)

In 2016, the RFLT included rural and frontier health facilities throughout Oregon. The 2016 report details identified challenges as well as associated Oregon statistics.

Forty-five facilities hosted listening sessions:

  • 23 Rural Health Clinics
  • 14 Critical Access Hospitals
  • 4 Federally Qualified Health Centers
  • 2 Type C Rural Hospitals
  • 1 Rural Clinic
  • 1 Tribal Clinic

Thirty-six partnering stakeholders joined the tour by area of scope:

  • Coordinated Care Organizations (CCOs)
    • Regional CCOs; Oregon Health Authority Divisions: Transformation Center and External Relations
  • Health Policy
    • Representatives from the governor’s, senators; and state representatives’ offices; Oregon Health Authority Divisions: Health Policy and Analytics; External Relations; Director’s Office (Tribal Liaison)
  • Oregon Workforce
    • Oregon Center for Nursing (OCN); Oregon Health Authority, Provider Services Division; Oregon Medical Board
  • Advocacy, Research and Technology
    • Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems (OAHHS); Oregon Rural Practice-Based Network (ORPRN); Oregon Health Authority, Office of Health Information Technology;
  • Social determinants of health
    • Housing Authority

Overview of identified challenges:

  • Workforce
    • Provider recruitment and retention
    • Administration and leadership
    • Availability and affordability of housing
    • Nursing
    • Credentialed Medical Assistants
    • Health information and technology
  • Access
    • Specialist and Primary Care Providers
    • Lack of acute care placements
    • New models of care

2014 Oregon Rural Hospital Listening Tour

2014 marked ORH’s first listening tour, which brought together state partners that work closely with Oregon's rural hospitals to hear from hospitals about important and challenging issues during a period of health reform. The 2014 report is available here. Tour partner stakeholders included Kelly Ballas, then Chief Financial Officer of the Oregon Health Authority, the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems and ORH.

Twenty-seven rural and frontier hospitals participated:

  • 21 Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs)
  • 3 Type B non-CAH rural hospitals
  • 3 Type C non-CAH rural hospitals

Overview of identified challenges:

  • Availability of mental health services
  • Sustainability of health reform
  • Availability of long-term care
  • Improving access and quality of care
  • Workforce challenges


Rose Locklear | locklear@ohsu.edu | 503-577-3849