In 2018, the Georgia General Assembly implemented a training requirement for rural hospital executives, board members, and hospital authority members. The legislation, HB 769, delegated responsibility for the creation of training standards, approval of vendors, and monitoring of compliance to the Georgia Rural Health Innovation Center.

The Georgia Rural Health Innovation Center at Mercer University School of Medicine is making available the final hospital training standards and is currently soliciting applications for curriculum approval. A full web portal for submissions will launch soon with additional resources.


Questions? Please contact us at or 478-301-4700.

FAQ For Hospitals, Executives, and Board Members

Q: Who is required to receive training?

A: In accordance with O.C.G.A. § 31-2-16 training approved by the Center must be completed by “the chief executive officer, the chief financial officer, every board member, and every hospital authority member, if operated by a hospital authority pursuant to Article 4 of Chapter 7 of this title, of a rural hospital organization as defined in Code Section 31-8-9.1”. The Center has published a list of all affected organizations to clarify the requirement.

Q: Who will provide the training?

A: The Center is currently seeking applications from vendors who wish to offer training. We anticipate 3-4 vendors this year. Once vendors are approved, their names and contact information will be published on our website.

Q: How much will training cost?

A: Costs for training have not been established but will be made publicly available on the Center website. The Center will take cost into account when granting approval to vendors in an effort to minimize the financial impact on the end consumer.

Q: What is the deadline for receiving training?

A: Those required to receive training must complete a minimum of 8 hours (2 hours prior to service and 6 hours within one year of joining the organization) prior to December 31, 2020. Trainee must receive an additional 6 hours of training every 2 calendar years after first joining the board to remain in compliance.

Q: If I received similar training previously will that count toward this requirement?

A: No. Previous training from a vendor who was not, at the time, approved will not count toward this requirement.

Q: What about new or interim executives (CEO and CFO)?

A: New CEOs/CFOs will have a 60 day grace period from their installation date to complete the prerequisite course and 12 calendar months from their installation date to complete the entire training.  Interim CEOs/CFOs will have a 30 day transition period; if they are in that position longer than 30 days, they will be subscribed to the aforementioned 60 day grace period for new CEOs/CFOs.

Q: Do new board members have to complete the pre-requisite two hour course prior to installation? What if it isn’t offered before they start?

A: Ideally, yes.  As this is a new process, for 2020 hospitals should strive to have their new board members complete the pre-requisite course prior to installation but no later than 60 days from their installation date.  In 2021 and subsequent years, hospitals should be prepared to plan ahead for outgoing board positions and have the pre-requisite course available for new board members prior to their installation.  Hospitals are encouraged to work with their vendor on this requirement. In the instance of unplanned board openings, the hospital should communicate with the Georgia Rural Health Innovation Center.

Q: Once I have completed my training and been certified, when does my certification expire?

A: Learners installed before December 31, 2019 have a training due date of December 31, 2020 regardless of installation date.  These Learners will be certified until December 31, 2022.  Any Learner installed after January 1, 2020 has one calendar year from their installation date to complete training and will be certified for two years following that date.  For example, if a Board member is installed on February 3, 2020 he or she will have a training deadline of February 3, 2021 and be certified until February 3, 2023. Deadlines and re-certification dates are based on installation date regardless of the final date training is completed.  If a Learner completes training after their deadline, their re-certification date is still based on their due date.  In that instance, the Learner and the Hospital would be considered out of compliance and could face financial penalty from the Department of Community Health.

FAQ For Vendors

Q: How do I obtain approval?

A: The center will soon launch a submission portal for vendors to apply for approval. The portal will include an application form and several required uploads as described in the Guidelines and Standards document.

Q: I already offer similar training. Do I need approval?

A: Yes. For training to fulfill the requirements set forth by the state of Georgia, a conforming curriculum that already exists must still be approved by the Center.

Q: My training is accredited by another organization. Do I still need approval from the GRHIC?

A: Yes. The Georgia Rural Health Innovation Center is the only entity designated by the state of Georgia to approve curriculum that fulfills the training requirement.

Q: Is there a fee associated with approval?

A: Yes. A fee of $1,000 is assessed on all applications. Funds from this fee are used to pay independent reviewers who evaluate the curriculum’s compliance with the Standards.

Q: How long does it take to receive approval?

A: The Approval Process is designed to move very rapidly. We expect all applications to be reviewed and a determination returned to the vendor no more than 30 days after submission, although most will be processed much more quickly.