Rural health leader, Penn State alumnus wins Calico Leadership Award

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Larry Baronner, rural health systems manager and deputy director at the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health (PORH), was awarded the 2017 Calico Leadership Award at the State Flex Program Reverse Site Visit held July 19-20 in Bethesda, Maryland.

The Calico Leadership Award is presented annually by the Technical Assistance and Services Center (TASC), a program of the National Rural Health Resource Center, as well as TASC’s national advisory committee, to an outstanding rural health leader. The Calico Award was created in honor of long-time rural health leader, Dr. Forest Calico, for his life-long commitment to improving the quality of rural health.

This year’s award was presented to Baronner, who earned a master’s degree in education at Penn State, for his outstanding leadership, guidance and dedication toward improving the quality of health care in rural America.  

Lisa Davis, PORH director and outreach associate professor of health policy and administration at Penn State said, “When Larry started at the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health in 2001 as the flex coordinator, the state was one of the last to implement the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility (Flex) Grant Program. Since then, Larry has established our office as a leader in the Flex Program and with critical-access hospitals (CAHs) through a well-rounded and balanced approach to hospital leadership, quality improvement and population health. He is a recognized expert in rural hospital administration and rural community development and has provided quiet, but powerful, leadership in organizational change and rural advocacy.”

Baronner has coordinated the Flex and Small Rural Hospital Improvement (SHIP) Programs within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for the past 16 years. Under his leadership, the Pennsylvania Critical Access Hospital Consortium has adopted a performance management system using a Balanced Scorecard framework. Through projects with Penn State’s College of Engineering and Penn State Continuing Education, the state’s CAHs have been introduced to lean concepts. Recently, Baronner is working on the Pennsylvania Rural Global Budget Approach for CAHs.  Pennsylvania has 15 CAHs, which serve the most rural communities in the state. 

“Larry Baronner’s leadership and innovation in the Pennsylvania Medicare Flex Program has helped to improve the performance of rural hospitals and contributed to the health and well-being of rural citizens in the state,” said Terry Hill, senior adviser for rural health leadership and policy of the National Rural Health Resource Center, in presenting the award.

PORH formed in 1991 as a joint partnership between the federal government, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and Penn State. The office is one of 50 state offices of rural health in the nation funded under a program administered by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and is charged with being a source of coordination, technical assistance and networking; partnership development; and assisting in the recruitment and retention of health care providers. 

PORH provides expertise in the areas of rural health, agricultural health and safety, and community and economic development. PORH is administratively housed in the Department of Health Policy and Administration in the College of Health and Human Development.

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Last Updated July 27, 2017