VRHA Weekly Update
In this Issue January 16, 2017

VRHA News Virginia News National News Mark your calendar
Funding Opportunities


Newsletter available





Members in the News

By Emily Brown - News Advance

While a new health center has been praised by Amherst County officials as an important and valuable addition to the town of Amherst, some in Nelson County are worried about what it could mean for nearby [VRHA member] Blue Ridge Medical Center. 

Located 14 miles south of Blue Ridge Medical Center, Centra Health’s Amherst Medical Center opened Dec. 1 in the Ambriar Plaza just off U.S. 29. According to Blue Ridge Medical Center CEO Peggy Whitehead, the Centra center will make “a definite impact” on Blue Ridge.

Read the full article.

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More Members in the News


New developments are allowing robotic surgery at [VRHA member] Augusta Health. The newest version being offered is called the Da Vinci Surgical System, a minimally invasive surgery which uses advanced instruments to give patients less pain and faster recovery.

Watch the interview.

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Virginia News

Legislative Watch

Recently introduced bills which could impact health and healthcare in rural Virginia.

HB 1767 & SB 1220 Telemedicine, practice of; prescribing controlled substances. 
HB 1777 Hospitals providing psychiatric services; denials of admission. 
HB 1783 Prisoners; mental health screening upon admission to a local correctional facility.
HB 1885 & SB 1232 Opioids; limit on amount prescribed. 
HB 1918 & SB 1222 Acute psychiatric patient registry; DBHDS to develop and administer.
HB 1948 Substance abuse treatment upon conviction of a crime; recovery community organization. 
HB 1956 Prescription drug order; requirements for shipping Schedule VI controlled substances. 
HB 1972 Closure of the Southwestern Virginia Training Center and the Southeastern Virginia Training Center.
HB 2046 Prescription drug orders; information on proper disposal.  
HB 2095 Registration of peer recovery specialists and qualified mental health professionals. 
HB 2101 Health care providers; data collection.
HB 2103 Health benefit exchange. 
HB 2161 Opioids; workgroup to establish guidelines for prescribing. 
HB 2162 Secretary of Health and Human Resources to convene work group to study barriers to treatment. 
HB 2164 Drugs of concern; gabapentin.
HB 2166 Possession of controlled substances.
HB 2167 Boards of Dentistry and Medicine; regulations for the prescribing of opioids and buprenorphine.
HB 2330 Inpatient psychiatric hospital admission; defendant found incompetent.
HB 2331 Community services boards; preadmission screening; regional jail inmates.
HB 2337 Certificates of public need.  
SB 1141 Certificate of public need; psychiatric beds and services. 
SB 1178 & HB 2163 Buprenorphine without naloxone; prescription limitation.
SB 1179 Secretary of Health and Human Resources; workgroup to establish educational guidelines for training.
SB 1180 Opioids and buprenorphine; Boards of Dentistry and Medicine to adopt regulations for prescribing.  
SB 1215 Public schools; possession of glucagon. 
SB 1230 & HB 2165 Opiate prescriptions; electronic prescriptions. 
SB 1244 Glucagon; administration by emergency medical services providers.
SB 1323 Neonatal abstinence syndrome; Board of Health to adopt regulations to include as reportable disease. 
SB 1375 Certificate of Public Need program.

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No Expansion in Budget

By Michael Martz - Richmond Times-Dispatch

Faced with a budget shortfall now estimated at $1.26 billion, Gov. Terry McAuliffe and General Assembly Republicans are bickering instead over whether the governor proposed to expand Medicaid in the budget he presented legislators. McAuliffe did not include $2.4 billion in federal funds that Virginia could use to expand the health care program under the Affordable Care Act or an estimated state general fund savings of $213 million that he said could have helped offset spending cuts.

Citing “a great deal of uncertainty” over the future of the law, the governor told legislators he chose “the fiscally prudent path” by leaving enhanced federal Medicaid funds out of the budget.
But McAuliffe did propose language that would strip a provision that Republican opponents forced into the budget more than two years ago to prevent him from expanding Medicaid without assembly approval.

Read the full article and related articles from the Commonwealth Institute.

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Patient Satisfaction

By Robert Powell - Virginia Business

Virginia hospitals saw mixed results in the most recent nationwide patient satisfaction survey. The number of hospitals getting high scores on the survey is rising, but the overall average for more than 80 facilities remains unchanged. The patient satisfaction survey, conducted from January through December 2015, asks patients to rate their hospital experiences. First, they are asked to grade hospitals on a 10-point scale, with “9 or 10” being the highest score. Then patients were asked whether they would recommend hospitals to friends and family. The most positive response was “Yes, Definitely.”

Four hospitals had high satisfaction ratings from 80 percent or more of their patients on one of the two survey questions. They were [VRHA member] Carilion Giles Community Hospital in Pearisburg, Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville and Inova Fair Oaks and Inova Fairfax hospitals in Northern Virginia.

Read the full article.

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National News

Senate HELP Committee

From the Office of Senator Tim Kaine

U.S. Senator Tim Kaine announced his appointment to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) during a discussion on health care access with health care providers and advocacy groups in Richmond. 

“I’m excited to announce that I will be a member of the Senate HELP Committee in the next Congress and will have the chance to work on two long-time passions of mine, healthcare and education. This is a critical moment for healthcare in America and I’m motivated now more than ever to fight against harmful policy proposals that seek to reverse the progress we’ve made in increasing access to care for millions of Americans. In this new role, I will also look for ways to further address the opioid abuse epidemic that affects every corner of the Commonwealth.

Read the full press release.

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Value-Based Challenges

By Greg Slabodkin - HealthData Management

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ new Quality Payment Program, designed to reward providers for value and improved health outcomes, will be the biggest reform of clinician payments under Medicare Part B in the history of the agency. But are small and rural practices well prepared for such a transition?

Small and rural practices are concerned about the impact of the new requirements, and CMS says it is taking additional steps to help these practices with the transition. However, critics such as the Government Accountability Office are not convinced that all small and rural practices can access these services.

Read the full article.

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Census Report

By Tim Marema - Daily Yonder

The Census Bureau put the spotlight on rural America when it released the results of its latest American Community Survey, the data that gives us the closest look at changes in American demography, economics, work, and lifestyles. Meanwhile, the survey showed that the Census-defined rural population remained steady from last year.

The press release that announced the new Census data focused on rural information, noting that rural Americans are more likely to own their own homes, live in the state where they were born, and to have served in the military. And the bureau dug beyond the standard data tables to report on subsets of rural counties. 

The press release, along with seven blog posts, provides an unusually thorough look at rural demographics and economics. The Census Bureau director said in the press release that the focus on rural was because this year’s ACS has more data on smaller counties, so it’s possible to say more.

Read the full article.

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Setting a Rural Health Research Agenda

By Judith Kulig - Rural and Remote Health 

If we were to roll back the years and look at the growth and change in Rural and Remote Health, we could surmise that the interest and productivity related to rural health has grown steadily and in some cases surpassed expectations. In looking back over the last eight years, I have been impressed by the number of topics related to rural that are being addressed through sound research. A wide variety of research methodologies and large teams are working collaboratively to conduct the investigations. It has also been nice to see the number of students or recent graduates involved in the publications. If I had one wish, it would be that researchers clearly identify their specific research topic within a larger research framework that is specific to rural. Having such a framework has several advantages, including being able to easily identify the strengths and gaps of rural health research. It is not deficit-driven but focuses on the unique features of each rural community rather than working from a premise that rural communities are 'less than' urban cities. Another benefit is for the end-users – be they students, other researchers, decision makers and of course community members – who can more easily access and use the findings in their everyday lives. In addition, applying a framework can guide students to choose research questions for their own work; scoping reviews on rural health that are based upon the framework suggested here can assist in this process. A final benefit is that having a framework communicates to others, especially non-rural researchers, that there is substance to what we do and we have a direction and a plan to get there.

I think the time is right to identify and apply a general rural health research framework that can guide researchers in planning research projects and decision makers in developing policies and implementing programs to address rural issues. Figure 1 is a visual representation of the framework originally introduced in the book Health in rural Canada to group and align the content by topic. There are three interrelated areas: ‘places matter to health’, ‘diversity in rural places’, and ‘rural places are dynamic’. These three areas are encircled by the social determinants of health, which connects the three areas.

Read the full article.

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Mark Your Calendar

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

January 18: Utilizing Virginia Medicaid's Addiction and Recovery Treatment Services (ARTS)  - Virginia Beach
January 20: Utilizing Virginia Medicaid's Addiction and Recovery Treatment Services (ARTS)  - Williamsburg
January 21: REVIVE! Opioid Overdose Education - Wytheville
January 24: Utilizing Virginia Medicaid's Addiction and Recovery Treatment Services (ARTS)  - Richmond
January 30: Utilizing Virginia Medicaid's Addiction and Recovery Treatment Services (ARTS)  - Fairfax
February 1: Utilizing Virginia Medicaid's Addiction and Recovery Treatment Services (ARTS)  - Winchester
February 3: Utilizing Virginia Medicaid's Addiction and Recovery Treatment Services (ARTS)  - Harrisonburg
February 5-8: Rural Healthcare Leadership Conference - Phoenix, AZ
February 7: Utilizing Virginia Medicaid's Addiction and Recovery Treatment Services (ARTS)  - Salem
February 7-9: 28th NHRA Rural Health Policy Institute​ - Washington, DC
February 9: Utilizing Virginia Medicaid's Addiction and Recovery Treatment Services (ARTS)  - Radford
February 13: Utilizing Virginia Medicaid's Addiction and Recovery Treatment Services (ARTS)  - Wise
February 15: Utilizing Virginia Medicaid's Addiction and Recovery Treatment Services (ARTS)  - Abingdon
February 17: Utilizing Virginia Medicaid's Addiction and Recovery Treatment Services (ARTS)  - Danville
February 21: Utilizing Virginia Medicaid's Addiction and Recovery Treatment Services (ARTS)  - Lynchburg
February 23: Utilizing Virginia Medicaid's Addiction and Recovery Treatment Services (ARTS)  - Charlottesville
April 2-4: MATRC Telehealth Summit - Leesburg

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Medicare Learning Network eNews:

CDC Clear Communication Index 
A research-based tool to help you develop and assess public communication materials.

USDA Local School Wellness Policy Outreach Toolkit
Engage school staff and parents in school wellness using these ready-to-go communication tools. Sharing news about your Local School Wellness Policy is easy with these flyers, presentations, newsletter articles, and social media posts. Your school can personalize them to make them specific to your Local School Wellness Policy activities.

Model Program: New Mexico Mobile Screening Program for Miners
A mobile screening clinic with telemedicine capability screens miners for respiratory and other conditions. 

Model Program: Successfully Training and Educating Pre-medical Students (STEPS)
STEPS provides support such as physician shadowing and MCAT practice exams for regional students applying to medical school. 

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Funding Opportunities

For funding opportunities without a specific deadline, please visit the VRHA Resources page

Office on Violence Against Women Grants for Outreach and Services to Underserved Populations
Grants to develop and implement outreach strategies targeted at, and provide victim services to, underserved populations of adult and youth victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
Application Deadline: Jan 26, 2017 

Lowe's Toolbox for Education Program
Provides grants for school improvement projects, including school gardens, physical fitness areas, walking trails, and meeting the basic needs of students.
Application Deadline: Feb 9, 2017 

AHRQ Small Research Grant Program (R03)
Supports different types of health services research projects, including pilot and feasibility studies; secondary analysis of existing data; small, self-contained research projects; development of research methodology; and development of new research technology. Rural and frontier areas are considered a priority population.
Application Deadline: Feb 16, 2017 

Community Characteristics Associated with Geographic Disparities in Diabetes and Cardiometabolic Health
Grants for the examination of county-level disparities in type 2 diabetes and cardiometabolic conditions to enhance understanding of disease determinants, including environmental or socioeconomic circumstances that contribute to diabetes geographic disparities.
Application Deadline: Feb 14, 2017 

Appalachian Community Fund Technical Assistance Grants
Funding for technical assistance needs for community-based organizations that address underlying causes of economic and social distress in the Appalachian region. The maximum Technical Assistance grant is $800. Geographic coverage: Appalachian counties of Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia 
Applications accepted on an ongoing basis 

STEM Essay Contest 
The Council will award five scholarships (one in each of five regions) to a female junior or senior who will be pursuing a STEM education at an institution of higher education. Essays will be judged by a panel of Council members and women who hold a degree in or work in STEM fields.
Deadline: February 20, 2017

NURSE Corps Loan Repayment Program
Support for registered nurses (RNs), advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), and nurse faculty by paying up to 85% of their unpaid nursing education debt.
Deadline: February 23, 2017

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