The Wisconsin Office of Rural Health works to improve the access to, and quality of, rural health care.
The Wisconsin Office of Rural Health (WORH) was established in 1975.
New Physicians for Wisconsin (NPW) program began operating in 1979 and has placed more than 500 physicians in community practices throughout the state.
The Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program (Flex Program) was created by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. The federal Flex legislation created the Critical Access Hospital (CAH) designation. In 1999, WORH applied for and was successful in starting the Wisconsin Flex Program.
WORH helped formulate legislation that created the Wisconsin Health Professions Loan Assistance Program (HPLAP). Dentists and Dental Hygienists were added to the program in 2001.
In 2005, in partnership with the Wisconsin Primary Health Care Association, a Dentist Placement Program (DPP) was created, focusing on clinics serving underserved populations around the state.
In 2017, WORH recognized as the first in the nation in Medicare Beneficiary Quality Improvement Project (MBQIP) performance.
Wisconsin’s Critical Access Hospitals ranked fourth in the nation for their quality reporting and improvement rates over the past year.
In 2020, WORH was recognized as third in the nation in Medicare Beneficiary Quality Improvement Project (MBQIP) performance. This honor continues a trend of Wisconsin’s rural hospitals leading the nation in top quality improvement measures.
As COVID-19 sweeps across the country, WORH distributes federal pandemic funding to local rural hospitals. The funds support rural hospitals in an extremely challenging time.