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H H S Department of Health and Human Services
Health Resources and Services Administration
Rural Health

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Small Rural Hospital Improvement Program (SHIP)

Small Rural Hospital Improvement (SHIP) funds support quality improvement and meaningful use of health information technology.

The program assists hospitals with 49 beds or fewer to participate in delivery system reforms outlined in the Affordable Care Act: 

  • Value Based Purchasing (such as improving data collection activities in order to facilitate reporting to Hospital Compare)
  • Accountable Care Organizations (such as activities that support quality improvement including, reduction of medical errors and education and training in data collection, reporting, and benchmarking)
  • Payment Bundling (building accountability across the continuum of care)

SHIP funds also support activities related to Prospective Payment Systems (such as maintaining accurate PPS billing and coding such as updating charge masters or providing training in billing and coding). To maximize purchasing power through economies of scale, eligible hospitals are encouraged to form networks and pool grant funds for the purchase of goods and services; or to pool SHIP funds through participation in other networks that offer programs and service that support delivery system reforms. 

Hospitals interested in participating in SHIP should contact their State Office of Rural Health to determine eligibility. Eligible hospitals submit an application to the SORH and the SORH prepares and submits a single grant application to the Health Resources and Services Administration on behalf of all eligible hospital applicants in the State.  In FY11, 1,659 hospitals were funded thorough SHIP.  

Find Grantees

Small Rural Hospital Improvement grantees with active projects

Authorizing Legislation

Section 1820(g)(3) of the Social Security Act.