NEWS: DRA and federal partner to deliver technical assistance, training to improve rural healthcare

December 18, 2017

U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration provides support

MISSISSIPPI RIVER DELTA REGION – The Delta Regional Authority (DRA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) are collaborating to provide technical assistance to rural hospitals in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Missouri. The Delta Region Community Health Systems Development Program is administered by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration’s Federal Office of Rural Health Policy.

Launched in August 2017, the program enhances healthcare delivery in the Delta region through intensive, multi-year technical assistance to providers in rural communities, including critical access hospitals, small rural hospitals, rural health clinics and other healthcare organizations. 

The program provides hospitals and clinics with various financial, operational and quality-improvement assessments, consultations, educational training, planning and ongoing coaching to help healthcare leaders develop and implement a local health system that supports a continuum of care. 

“Our region endures growing health disparities when compared to the nation as a whole. DRA is committed to improving the capacity of our rural communities so they can provide quality health care services to Delta residents,” said Peter Kinder, DRA’s alternate federal co-chairman. “This program will provide critical support to rural healthcare facilities and enhance their services to improve health outcomes while strengthening the local and regional economies.”

DRA is collaborating with federal partners and rural health resource centers to assist providers and healthcare leaders with developing and implementing a system of care for their communities by targeting eight areas:

  • Improve financial position and increase operational efficiencies
  • Implement quality-improvement initiatives to improve health outcomes
  • Increase use of telemedicine
  • Develop a community care coordination plan
  • Improve the health of area residents
  • Integrate social services to address socioeconomic challenges
  • Ensure access to and availability of Emergency Medical Services
  • Strengthen workforce recruitment and retention needs

Selected healthcare facilities include:

Daughters of Charity Services of Arkansas (DCSA) in Dumas: DCSA is comprised of two rural health clinics and one wellness center serving Desha, Drew and Chicot counties. DCSA will collaborate with Drew Memorial Hospital, Delta Memorial Hospital, and Chicot Memorial Hospital to build a coordinated and more efficient local health system.

Natchitoches Regional Medical Center (NRMC) in Natchitoches: NRMC is a 100-bed, non-profit regional medical center serving rural residents located in Natchitoches, Winn, and Sabine parishes.

Tippah County Hospital (TCH) in Ripley: TCH is a 40-bed, county-owned critical access hospital that serves area residents in Tippah County.

Sharkey-Issaquena Community Hospital (SICH) in Rolling Fork: SICH is an acute-care facility jointly owned by Sharkey and Issaquena counties.  

Pemiscot County Memorial Hospital (PCMH) in Hayti: PCMH is a publicly owned and operated healthcare provider serving Pemiscot County and nearby areas.

Iron County Hospital (ICH) in Pilot Knob: ICH is a stand-alone critical access hospital that is owned and operated by Iron County. 

About the Delta Regional Authority
The Delta Regional Authority is a federal-state partnership created by Congress in 2000 to help create jobs, build communities, and improve lives through strategic investments in economic development in 252 counties and parishes across eight states. To date, DRA’s investments have exceeded $3.7 billion – including contributions from federal, state and local partners – and have supported infrastructure improvements, workforce development and training, and increased community capacity. These investments have helped create or retain more than 38,000 jobs, trained more than 8,400 workers for 21st Century jobs, and provided water and sewer service to more than 75,000 families since DRA was established. Learn more at


Media Contact:
Andrew Moreau