Vital Access Provider Program (VAP)


The 2011-12 Final Budget established VAP funds to ensure greater financial stability to the state´s vital access and safety net providers. These programs were designed to assist uniquely situated and financially challenged health care providers strengthen their fiscal viability and improve their capacity to provide quality care to populations in need.

The Safety Net (SN) program provides short term funding to achieve defined operational goals related to facility closures, mergers, integration or reconfiguration of services. The Vital Access Provider (VAP) program provides longer term support, up to 3 years, to ensure financial stability and advance ongoing operational changes to improve community care. Both programs are funded through one award application process and must be approved by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The objective of the VAP/SN initiative is to improve access to needed services while reducing Medicaid program costs.

Requests for funding are evaluated based on financial viability of the facility, community service needs, quality improvement initiatives and health equity. Providers eligible for the program include hospitals, nursing homes, clinics and home care providers that have significant financial challenges, and their services are deemed critical to meeting the health care needs of their communities. These funds will be used primarily to improve community care and to achieve defined financial, operational, and quality improvement goals related to integration or reconfiguration of services offered by the facility. Capital expenses are not eligible for VAP funding. Specific examples of viable projects include:

  • Expand access to ambulatory services through additional needed services or added hours of operations;
  • Open urgent care centers to help reduce use of emergency rooms;
  • Improve quality through reduced adverse events thus also reducing overall costs;
  • Expand services in rural areas through additional primary and specialty care services;
  • Establish care coordination between providers and levels of health care service delivery; and
  • Provide more effective services that meet the needs of the community.