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Alaska Small Rural Hospital Improvement Grant Program (SHIP)

The Small Rural Hospital Improvement Grant Program (SHIP) is a federally funded program that encourages the formation of consortiums and the pooling of dollars by State Offices of Rural Health (SORH) to purchase goods and services as a group. Such an approach is helpful when hospitals are not currently in existing systems that assist with these economies of scale. The Alaska SHIP Program is administered through the Section of Health Planning and Systems Development.


The purpose of the federal SHIP Program is to help small rural hospitals do any or all of the following:

  • Prospective Payment Systems (PPS)
  • Accountable Care Organizations (ACO)
  • Payment Bundling
  • Value-Based Purchasing (VBP)


The goals of the Alaska SHIP Program are:

  • To continue strengthening collaborative efforts between the State Office of Rural Health and small hospitals in efforts to assist small rural hospitals in Alaska as they work to address the current challenges facing the rural health care delivery system.
  • To encourage small rural hospitals to work collaboratively with their larger network hospitals as well as other rural hospitals to address PPS, ACO, payment bundling, and VBP issues or concerns.
  • To provide a continued opportunity for those small rural hospitals not designated as Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) to work with both the State Office of Rural Health and Critical access Hospitals on mutually shared issues.


Funding received from the federal government for the SHIP Program in Alaska is distributed to eligible hospitals in the state for activities related to one, two or all three of the purposes identified above. SHIP staff provides technical assistance to hospitals in identifying potential projects as well as assistance with implementation and evaluation.

The SHIP Program and the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program have been integrated where possible. This allows for resources to be utilized more efficiently and for information, education and assistance to be targeted appropriately.

For More Information:

Cate Harmon