State Agencies | Online Services

Rural Health

Rural Health encompasses several programs that serve to strengthen health care delivery systems and improve health care access in rural areas of Ohio.  These programs include the State Office of Rural Health (SORH), the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program (Flex), and the Small Rural Hospital Improvement Program (SHIP).  The links located to the left will provide you with additional information on these programs.

State Office of Rural Health Frequently Asked Questions

1.    What is rural?

Depending upon the program and agency, various definitions of rural exist. For grant programs from the federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP), all counties that are not part of a Metropolitan Area are considered rural by definition. In Metropolitan counties, Rural-Urban Commuting Area (RUCA) Codes define the rural areas eligible for the various FORHP grant programs.

Click here to learn more about eligibility for federal grants from the FORHP.

The State Office of Rural Health (SORH) does not in any way limit our technical assistance or services to just those counties or communities that meet the FORHP’s definition of rural.

2.    How can I find funding to fit needed community projects?

Various FORHP grant opportunities fund rural health projects in communities meeting the federal definition of rural. Information on three of these opportunities is listed below.

  • Rural Health Care Services Outreach Grant Program
    The emphasis of this grant program is on service delivery through creative strategies requiring the grantee to work with at least two additional consortium members.

  • Rural Health Network Development Planning Grant Program
    This grant program provides one year of funding to rural communities needing assistance in the development of an integrated health care network. Planning grants provide funding to develop a formal network with the purpose of improving the coordination of health services in rural communities and strengthening the rural healthcare system as a whole.

  • Rural Health Network Development Grant Program
    These grants are designed to further ongoing collaborative relationships among healthcare organizations by funding rural health networks that focus on integrating clinical, informational, administrative and financial systems across members.

In addition, the SORH distributes announcements of funding opportunities as they arise via the rural health listserv. To be added to this e-mail list, send your request to

Another recommendation is to frequently check for rural health-related funding opportunities compiled by the Rural Health Information Hub.

3.    Where can I obtain demographic, economic and health-related statistics for my county?

A few sources of information include:

The Rural Health Information Hub also maintains a guide to assist with finding statistics and data related to rural health, including sources of county-level data.

For more information: 

Ohio Department of Health
State Office of Rural Health
246 North High Street
Columbus, OH 43215

Telephone: (614) 466-5333


Last Reviewed: 5/22/2018