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Part Findings

In 2003, the Office of Rural Health Policy's (ORHP) performance was reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in planning the budget for the fiscal year 2005 as part of the Program Assessment Response Tool (PART) process. As part of that exercise, the Office is required to share its PART findings with grantees and stakeholders, which is the purpose of this document. Through this process, the OMB examined the Office's ability to meet its mission and evaluated the performance of the Office's programs. The Office's programs, in aggregate, received an adequate rating.

Each year, the OMB works with Federal Agencies to select programs for review. Reviews are generally conducted in preparation of the next year's budget. PART was developed to evaluate and improve Federal program performance. Although some PART reviews focus on specific programs, OMB's assessment of ORHP was broad based, looking at all of the grant programs administered by the Office. Identifying both long-term and short-term goals for the Office, PART evaluates the Office's performance in meeting these goals and suggests ways to improve outcomes.

ORHP is committed to addressing the recommendations of its PART review. OMB charged the Office with reaching out to its grantees and stakeholders and sharing its PART findings. OMB also called on the Office to develop a Strategic Plan that incorporated the PART findings and the Office is in the process of doing this.

The mission of the ORHP is to sustain and improve access to quality health care services for rural communities through strategies focused on policy and programs. These strategies are implemented by:

  • Coordinating rural policy and activities across the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and advising the Secretary;
  • Supporting rural policy research and information dissemination.
  • Developing capacity for rural health infrastructure at the local provider, community and state levels; and
  • Funding demonstration projects and service delivery.

In the coming months, the Office will build on the recommendations to develop a broader strategic plan and share it with grantees and rural stakeholders. In the meantime, the Office wanted to share the long-term and short-term goals that were developed in consultation with OMB.

  1. Reduce Health Disparities: Expand the availability of rural health care resources to underserved, vulnerable and special-needs populations.
    Long-Term Goal:
    By 2010, reduce to 13.9 percent the proportion of rural residents of all ages with limitation of activities caused by chronic conditions.
    Short-Term Goal:
    Increase by 1 percent annually the number of people served through Rural Health Care Services Outreach Grants.
  2. Strengthen Public Health Infrastructure and Health Care Delivery Systems: Improve development and use of rural public health infrastructure and health care delivery systems.
    Long-Term Goal:
    By 2010, increase to 35 percent the proportion of critical access hospitals with positive operating margins.
    Short-Term Goal:
    Increase by 0.5 percentage point annually the average operating margin of critical access hospitals.

The ORHP is committed to accomplishing our mission. The Office will build upon the PART evaluation to improve our effectiveness in achieving our goals.

More information about PART can be found at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/part/index.html.


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