An­nual M&A report shows rise in non­tra­di­tional deals

Grant pro­gram tar­gets chronic health risks

Modern Healthcare - - NEWS - Paul Barr

WATCH Re­porter Paul Barr of­fers de­tails on M&A data at mod­ern­health­care.com/videos

Res­i­dents of the Mis­sis­sippi Delta re­gion are more likely to die from a num­ber of con­di­tions, in­clud­ing di­a­betes, heart disease and stroke, and fed­eral of­fi­cials are try­ing to im­prove ef­forts to re­duce those dis­par­i­ties by tak­ing a more fo­cused ap­proach.

The Of­fice of Ru­ral Health Pol­icy re­fined its Delta States Ru­ral Devel­op­ment Net­work Grant Pro­gram in its lat­est round of pro­posed fund­ing to tar­get three chronic health risks— car­dio­vas­cu­lar disease, di­a­betes and obe­sity— with lo­cally im­ple­mented and ev­i­dence-based col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­forts. The of­fice, part of HHS’ Health Re­sources and Ser­vices Ad­min­is­tra­tion, is fund­ing the pro­gram with as much as $5.6 mil­lion a year over three years.

The mul­ti­state, re­gional ru­ral grant pro­gram seeks to re­duce dis­par­i­ties in a re­gion where re­search has in­di­cated res­i­dents are 1.28 times more likely to die from heart disease and 1.39 times more likely to die from di­a­betes.

The grants will fo­cus on some of the con­di­tions with the great­est dis­par­i­ties in the re­gion, said Nisha Pa­tel, di­rec­tor of the Com­mu­nity Based Di­vi­sion of the Of­fice of Ru­ral Health Pol­icy. The Delta re­gion en­com­passes parts of eight states: Alabama, Arkansas, Illi­nois, Ken­tucky, Louisiana, Mis­sis­sippi, Mis­souri and Ten­nessee. In pre­vi­ous ver­sions of the grants, the re­quire­ments were more ope­nended, Pa­tel said.

In ad­di­tion, the grants re­quire that the ap­pli­cants in­clude col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween or­ga­ni­za­tions in mul­ti­ple coun­ties and parishes as part of their pro­posal. The goal is to en­cour­age “cre­ative and last­ing re­la­tion­ships” among ser­vice providers and health sys­tems in the tar­geted ru­ral ar­eas cov­ered by the Delta States pro­gram, ac­cord­ing to the ap­pli­ca­tion. “The con­sor­tium piece is really key,” Pa­tel said.

And in award­ing the grants, the Of­fice of Ru­ral Health Pol­icy will give pref­er­ence to ap­pli­cants em­ploy­ing proven ap­proaches, re­flect­ing a broader pri­or­ity of the of­fice to sup­port ev­i­dence-based pro­grams.

The ap­pli­cant pro­grams should aim to im­prove one or more of the fol­low­ing: at­ti­tudes among the pub­lic re­gard­ing their abil­ity to im­prove health; be­hav­ior of in­di­vid­u­als, such as in­creas­ing ex­er­cise or im­prov­ing eat­ing habits; health of res­i­dents as mea­sured by such things as weight or blood pres­sure; sys­tems of care or preven­tion; knowl­edge among res­i­dents of self-man­age­ment strate­gies and disease risk fac­tors; and poli­cies and pro­ce­dures.

An­other un­usual ad­di­tion to the grant is that ap­pli­cants may seek to in­clude work­place chronic health im­prove­ment strate­gies as part of an add-on grant of $500,000 from the Delta Re­gional Author­ity, a fed­eral-state part­ner­ship fo­cused on im­prov­ing the econ­omy.

“Busi­ness needs a healthy work­force,” said Christo­pher Masingill, fed­eral co-chair­man of the author­ity, which is sup­ply­ing the sup­ple­men­tal grants through what it calls the Healthy Work­force Chal­lenge. The eco­nomic devel­op­ment funds are in­tended to al­low grant awardees in the fed­eral pro­gram to also ap­ply their ef­forts in a work­place set­ting, Masingill said. “It’s a good fit.”

The fed­eral grant ap­pli­ca­tions are due March 18, and the Delta Re­gional Author­ity re­quires that a sep­a­rate let­ter of in­tent to ap­ply for their funds be sent by Feb. 15.

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