Virginia Rural Health Association - Weekly Update
VRHA Weekly Update
In this Issue August 8, 2016

VRHA News Virginia News National News Mark your calendar
Resources
Funding Opportunities
VRHA Site

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August Newsletter

 

 

 

VRHA News

How Do We Pay for Telehealth? 

Matt Underwood, Community Development Specialist for USDA Rural Development will provide information about its Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant. The DLT Grant, which has a $500,000 maximum, helps rural communities use unique telecommunications capabilities to connect with each other and to the world, overcoming the effects of remoteness and low population density. 

The grants, which are awarded through a competitive process, may be used to fund Telecommunications enabled information, audio and video equipment, and related advanced technologies that extend educational and medical applications into rural areas.

Click the conference logo for event details and registration.
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Abingdon, Virginia 
October 19 & 20, 2016

Want to know more about rural health funding opportunities?  The USDA is hosting the Rural Health Funding Summit in South Boston on September 23.  Check it out!

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Members in the News

By Lisa Thompson - Roanoke Times

The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) has awarded the designation of Pathway to Excellence Award to [VRHA member] LewisGale Hospital Pulaski. LewisGale Hospital Pulaski now joins 131 hospitals in the United States which have achieved this distinguished award and is the first Hospital Corporation of America facility in the Capital Division to earn this elite designation.

The Pathway to Excellence designation is granted to organizations based on the confirmed presence of quality initiatives specific to nursing. To be considered for this designation, an organization must successfully undergo a thorough review process, which documents foundational quality initiatives focused on enhancing patient care, while creating a positive nurse practice environment, defined by nurses and supported by evidence‐based research.

Read the full article.

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More Members in the News

By Melissa Gregson - Roanoke Times 

[VRHA member] Community Health Center of the New River Valley in Christiansburg was recently awarded a Health Infrastructure Investment Program grant for facility renovation and construction to increase patient capacity at the Christiansburg site. 


The Center’s $1 million award will allow for both internal and external building renovations, upgrades and equipment purchases as well as provide for the addition of two pediatric exam rooms.

Read the full article and related story from WDBJ7.

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Virginia News

RAM Dentists

By Stephen Igo - Kingsport Times News

Virginia Dental Association dentists and oral surgeons provided free care for 1,232 patients during last month's Wise County Remote Area Medical, the group reported. The VDA estimates the total value of donated services during the 17th annual Wise County RAM at $1,323,789 during the three-day event at the Wise County Fairgrounds. VDA volunteers administered exams, fillings, extractions, cleanings, root canals, complete and partial dentures and other procedures.

VDA has been a huge part of Wise County RAM since its inception 17 years ago, participating every year. Wise County RAM is the nation's largest such event offering free medical, dental and vision health care services to all comers.

Read the full article.

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Close to Home

By Amanda Holpuch and Nadja Popovich - Guardian

A man was lying sedate after injecting drugs. His fellow users, to amuse themselves, threw needles at him like a human dartboard to see if they would stick, according to a recent police report in Wolfe County, Kentucky.  With a growing US opioid epidemic that has escalated the number of injection drug users, the bucolic county has become acutely at risk from another public health problem.

The CDC said the top 20 most vulnerable counties identified in its report are effectively equal in vulnerability because of the analysis’s margin of error, but Wolfe County is ranked first and serves as a model for the places at most risk, 13 of which are in Kentucky.
The other seven counties are also in the heart of the US opioid epidemic – Appalachia, which is overwhelmed by drug abuse and under-resourced in every other way.

Read the full article.

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National News

Hospital Ratings

From the National Rural Health Association

CMS published the Overall Hospital Quality Star Ratings in spite of Congress asking the agency to wait. Twenty percent of hospitals (941 facilities) do not meet the minimum data requirements to have a star rating calculated.

The majority (671) of the facilities with no star rating calculated are critical access hospitals. CAHs have worked hard to voluntarily report data, and it is unfortunate that their report card shows too few cases to report. Additionally, many measures included in this system are specific to a particular diagnosis or procedure. Small and rural hospitals may not have enough volume, or what is measured is not part of the services they offer.

For these reasons and more, NRHA objected to CMS’ release of this data until these problems could be resolved.

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Drone Delivery

By Amar Toor - Verge

Zipline, a drone delivery company which has been used to deliver medication and blood to remote parts of Rwanda, will launch a similar program in the U.S. The program will serve rural and remote communities in Maryland, Nevada, and Washington, and will include some Native American reservations. Hospitals will be able to place an order via text message and receive up to 3 pounds of blood or medication by parachute within 30 minutes.

Read the full article.
 

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Data Exchange

By Kyle Murphy - Health IT

Compared to larger urban and suburban hospitals, small, rural, and critical access hospitals reported lower rates for sending, receiving, finding, and integrating data electronically, according to new data published by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC).
 
For hospitals with all four domains, medium-to-large (34%), non-rural (34%), non-critical (30%) hospitals (34%) outperformed their counterparts by a margin of two to one: small (18%) critical access (17%), and rural (15%) hospitals.

Read the full article.

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Broadband Action Plan

By Tom Koutsky - Daily Yonder

In thinly-populated rural and tribal areas, community anchor institutions (CAIs) can be vitally important to connecting residents to the rest of the world. Unfortunately, because of economic factors, anchor institutions in rural and tribal areas have an especially difficult time obtaining high-capacity broadband connections at affordable rates. When implementing programs designed to increase access to broadband service in rural areas, federal, state, and local efforts should give high priority to the broadband needs of rural community anchor institutions.

Telemedicine could make providing health care in rural areas more economical by reducing travel time and allowing rural health institutions to see more patients at reduced costs. Unfortunately, many rural health care providers have an especially difficult time obtaining high-capacity broadband. For example, the Manila Clinic is the only health care facility in Daggett County, Utah, which has a population of 1,127. Manila Clinic’s service level does not meet the health care provider target of 10 Mbps recommended by the National Broadband Plan. When the clinic requested bids to connect to the Utah Telehealth Network, not a single provider responded, even with financial support from the FCC Rural Health Care (RHC) Program.

In the absence of a private business model for broadband deployment, public policies need to respond to the challenge of connecting anchor institutions in rural areas.

Read the full article and review the FCC's new Mapping Broadband Health in America tool

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Mark Your Calendar

For more information about these and other events, visit the VRHA Calendar

August 25: New HCV Testing Policies: Reality for Rural Clinics​ - webinar
September 10: Forum on Prescription Drug Abuse for Healthcare Providers - Lynchburg
September 20-21: Rural Health Clinic Conference - Kansas City, MO
September 21-23: Critical Access Hospital Conference - Kansas City, MO
September 23: Rural Health Funding Summit - South Boston
October 18: Rural Health Telecommunication Consortium Kick-Off Meeting - Abingdon
October 18-19:  Rural Health Coding & Billing Specialist Training  - Abingdon
October 19-20: VRHA Annual Conference - Abingdon

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Resources

Model Program: Island Hospital’s Psychiatry & Behavioral Health Clinic
Island Hospital opened a Psychiatry & Behavioral Health Clinic that serves patients on their campus and at schools located in the Anacortes School District. Nearly 2,000 mental health and social work appointments have been facilitated at Anacortes's public schools. Thousands more appointments have been provided at the clinic to meet the mental health needs of the community.

Rural Obesity Prevention Toolkit
Designed to help communities pinpoint factors that promote obesity, convene partners to address those issues, and apply evidence-based solutions. The toolkit offers seven modules that look at factors such as environmental characteristics, transportation options, availability of healthy foods, availability of public health funding, and access to healthcare. 

Making Food Systems Part of Your Community Health Needs Assessment
Community health needs assessments (CHNAs) conducted by nonprofit hospitals present an opportunity to identify and address a broad spectrum of factors that impact health and well-being in local communities. This tool provides hospitals and their partners with links to external stakeholders, user-friendly tools and strategies, and features practical examples of collaborative partnerships between hospitals and food system stakeholders across the country. 

County Health Rankings: What Works for Rural Health. 
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation issued a follow-up to their 2016 County Health Rankings, outlining specific policies and programs rural communities can implement to improve health and wellbeing.   Within the report, you’ll find details about finding and choosing the right solution for your community; what’s working to prepare and strengthen local workforces, improve diet and exercise, and reduce injuries; and a discussion of the many factors that influence health. Strategies that have been studied and deployed in rural communities are emphasized throughout the report.

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Funding Opportunities



Hospital Charitable Service Awards
Recognizes hospitals in the United States whose commitment to their community has led to innovative, sustainable, and collaborative efforts to improve community health and increase access to healthcare education and services.
Application Deadline: Aug 31, 2016 

Connect 4 Mental Health
Connect 4 Mental Health (C4MH) is a nationwide initiative that calls for communities to prioritize serious mental illness. C4MH's Community Innovation Awards program is designed to recognize local organizations across the country that are working to implement innovative, collaborative approaches to address serious mental illness in their communities.

Developing Healthy Places
Application deadline: Applications accepted on an ongoing basis.
Funding to improve the places that shape health, including programs that promote healthy housing and neighborhoods.

Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation
The mission of The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation is to help low-income and vulnerable individuals and families by providing grants to nonprofit organizations that offer direct services. In addition to its existing grant areas, Basic Human Needs and Health, Disabilities, Education, General Community Support, Older Adults, and Workforce Development, on March 1st the Weinberg Foundation began accepting grants in a new program area serving veterans and their families. The grants portfolio for veterans primarily supports nonprofit organizations serving veterans and their families in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington, DC. Grants are provided to organizations committed to ensuring military members and their families effectively reintegrate into their communities. Priority is given to programs focused on workforce development, physical and mental health, and the elimination of barriers to a variety of services.

Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation Grants
Applications accepted on an ongoing basis. Supports domestic health professional education.

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Virginia Rural Health Association
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Blacksburg, VA 24060
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