Virginia Rural Health Association - Weekly Update
VRHA Weekly Update
In this Issue  February 22, 2016

VRHA News Virginia News National News Mark your calendar
Funding Opportunities


Winter edition





Position Announcement

VRHA is in search of an intern!  We need a a self-motivated individual with a passion for rural health and the desire to convert a paid year-long internship into a full-time position via successful grant writing and project contracts.

Essential Duties:  Job scope to include, but not limited to grant management, stakeholder communications, and event planning.

Qualifications: Master’s degree in field related to health, communications, and/or public policy; or BA or BS degree, working towards Master’s in one of those fields. 

See the position announcement and job description for details.

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Members in the News

VRHA Member Eastern Shore Rural Health System (ESRHS) is featured twice in the most recent issues of Virginia Dental Journal.  The first article is an interview with ESRHS Executive Director Nancy Stern, which outlines the challenges of providing dental care on the Eastern Shore.

The second article is a profile of ESRHS dentists Dr. Noel Root and Dr. Ed Griggs and the path that led them to a "practice setting far removed from their former suburban practices."

Click here to access the magazine.

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Seeking RHC Exhibitors 

Are you interested in exhibiting during the Virginia RHC Capstone Meeting March 23 & 24? 

We would love to have you there to share your resources and opportunities with Virginia's Rural Health Clinic staff.  We are expecting leaders from 30 of Virginia's Rural Health Clinics to attend a state-wide meeting held in Blacksburg, VA next month.
We are accepting a total of 10 exhibits to participate in the event.
Click here for details or contact Beth O'Connor  for more information.

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Virginia News

No Conservative Solution?

From the Roanoke Times

Gov. Terry McAuliffe has proposed a way to expand Medicaid without using any state funds. Instead, he proposes a levy on hospitals – critics call it a “bed tax” but the hospitals prefer to call it a “provider assessment.” With that money, the state would qualify for Medicaid funds. By the governor’s accounting, that would free up $157 million elsewhere in the state budget that could be used for other things — such as a cut in the corporate tax rate that McAuliffe has dangled.
The hospitals like this – they proposed the general concept. They’re so eager to come up with a financial fix that they dropped their long-standing opposition to such a levy.  Republicans do not like this – and they control the legislature. Their views haven’t changed.
There’s another problem, though, one that goes beyond the two different political ideologies that the Republican legislature and the Democratic governor bring to the table. That’s called the facts. There really are all these people out there without health insurance. And rural hospitals really are losing money.
Distressingly, Republicans give no sign that they care about fixing it. The Democratic solution is to talk up Medicaid expansion; the Republican solution is to simply not talk about it. It’s not that the Republicans’ preferred solution is too controversial for public consumption; they simply don’t have an alternative.  Even more baffling, most of rural Virginia is now represented by Republicans. Where is the interest in making sure their communities still have viable hospitals?

Read the full editorial and related stories in the Virginia Connection, Richmond Times-Dispatch (2nd article), Free Lance-Star (2nd article), Bowling Green Daily News,  .

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Marketplace Enrollment

From the Augusta Free Press

Governor Terry McAuliffe announced that nearly 421,900 Virginians have signed up for health insurance through the federal marketplace, exceeding expectations that enrollment would reach 400,000 this year in the Commonwealth.
That number reflects total enrollment through the end of the most recent open enrollment period on January 31. The federal marketplace was created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to provide more Americans with health coverage options.
The McAuliffe administration successfully pursued a $9.3 million grant from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to pay for more than 100 enrollment assisters, who worked with Virginians to obtain insurance during the recent open enrollment period.

Read the full article.

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Longitudinal Data System 

By Katherine Coates - VLDS

The Virginia Community College System (VCCS) is very excited to take our involvement with the Virginia Longitudinal Data System (VLDS) to the next level. Our agency represents the 23 community colleges across Virginia. We have over 260,000 students taking credit courses at our colleges. Last year, colleges provided more than 65,000 individuals with workforce related training and helped over 11,000 businesses strengthen their workforce. VCCS is currently gearing up to use the VLDS for one of our newest programs, The Rural Virginia Horseshoe Initiative (RVHI).

The goal of the Rural Virginia Horseshoe Initiative is to improve educational outcomes for rural communities in Virginia where there is a much lower rate of educational completion and attainment compared to rest of the state. The ‘rural horseshoe’ is a reference to the arc created when drawing a line through the Eastern Shore, across Southside Virginia through Southwest Virginia and up the Shenandoah Valley. The Rural Virginia Horseshoe Initiative will utilize full time career coaches and GED Incentives to reach its goals.

Read the full article.

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National News

Recruiting for Retention


The idea of rural nursing frightened Taylor Graham. She couldn’t imagine being the only RN on a unit, 300 miles away from the nearest larger hospital. But Steele Memorial administrators promised she would always have manageable patient loads, other RNs working with her, and a residency program that included training, sessions with a preceptor and meetings with nurses at other facilities who also were new to rural nursing. “I knew I was going to get the support that I needed and I was going to get the opportunity to learn,” she said. She decided to give it a chance. A year and a half later, Graham is still at Steele Memorial and in no hurry to leave.

Her experience represents the payoff some desperately short-staffed rural facilities hoped for about 10 years ago when they invested in ways to attract new nurses to remote areas where salary and benefits couldn’t compete with urban and suburban counterparts, and many new recruits didn’t stay through the first year. Administrators began looking for people who wanted to be in a rural community or who had ties to the community, and then supporting them so they would stay — a policy called “recruiting for retention.”

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Rural Hospital Trustees

By Julius A. Karash - H&HN

Rural hospitals face growing pressures on multiple fronts, including reimbursement changes tied to value-based payments and raising concerns about health care access in rural communities. These pressures are forcing greater demands on rural hospital trustees, who must make ever more complex decisions about service lines and whether to affiliate with larger health systems.

Greater demands on rural hospital boards means that more than ever, rural hospitals need trustees who are knowledgeable about the latest hospital industry trends and challenges.  No matter what the current knowledge level of rural hospital trustees, they must continually seek and utilize educational opportunities to increase their knowledge, in order to make the right decisions for their hospitals and their communities.

Read the full article.

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Opioid Struggle

By Juliet Eilperin - Washington Post

The White House announced that President Obama is appointing Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, his Cabinet’s longest-serving member, to lead a new interagency effort focused on addressing rural America’s struggle with heroin and opioid abuse as well as other pressing problems.
The decision to centralize federal decision-making on drug abuse as well as other major problems in rural areas — rising suicide rates, declining physical and mental health, and increased financial stress — comes as addiction to heroin and other opiates has become a crisis in many areas.

Mark Publicker, past president of the Northern New England Society of Addiction Medicine, said that he had been encouraged by some of the efforts the administration had been taking to address the fact that the rural poor are “most stricken by the epidemic and have the least access to treatment.”

Read the full article.

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Better Broadband

By Eric Wicklund - mHealth Intelligence

A coalition of telehealth and health IT organizations is petitioning the Federal Communications Commission to improve wireless and broadband access to rural healthcare providers, calling it critical to the development of virtual visit and remote patient monitoring efforts.
While an estimated 1 percent of the nation’s small providers lack broadband connectivity, the issue is especially acute in rural parts of the country, where an estimated 7 percent of providers lack access – and where that access can costs three times more than in urban areas.
“People get real excited about mHealth, but they forget that big parts of the country don’t have reliable broadband. We often don’t think about our infrastructure in this case,” Harry Greenspun, the director of Deloitte’s Center for Health Solutions, said in an interview last year with “You travel around this country or you look at the coverage maps of telecom companies and you see places that are not colored in and you know they do not have broadband.”

Read the full article.

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Mark Your Calendar

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

February 26, March 11, March 18: 
Rural Health Clinic Webinar Series 
March 8: Transforming Care with Quality Impact - webinar
March 23 & 24: Rural Health Clinic Capstone Meeting - Blacksburg
April 6-8: National Health Outreach Conference - Roanoke
April 10-12: Mid Atlantic Telehealth Resource Center Annual Summit - Cambridge, MD
April 25-26: National Reduce Tobacco Use Conference - Washington, DC

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CMS MLN Connects Provider eNews 

Model Program: Project PROMISE

  • Need: An increased interest among young people to pursue a medical career in rural North Carolina
  • Intervention: Two medical students started a program that gives high school seniors medical academic training, mentor relationships, and hands-on experience in rural North Carolina facilities.
  • Results: Project PROMISE has graduated 10 high school students, 5 of whom are pursuing an undergraduate degree with an interest in studying medicine. 

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Funding Opportunities

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

Appalachian Studies Association Conference Scholarships
The ASA provides scholarships to those unable to attend the annual conference because of financial reasons. 

RWJF Awards for Health Equity
RWJF is requesting proposals from national nonprofit membership organizations and/or associations to establish an annual awards program to recognize and celebrate individuals who have successfully implemented systems changes related to the determinants of health.
Recognition of these efforts increases the visibility and awareness of the urgent need and solutions for systems changes to achieve health equity in our society. A total of four grants up to $52,000 each will be awarded. Each grant will support an annual awards program for six years.
Application deadline: March 30, 2016

Scholarships available for upcoming NRHA events
NRHA’s 39th Annual Rural Health Conference is the largest gathering of rural health professionals in the country, created for all of those with an interest in rural health care. Mark your calendars now for May 10-13 in Minneapolis. Scholarships are available for the event, as well as NRHA’s Rural Medical Education Conference and Health Equity Conference, which precede the Annual Conference on May 10.  Additional information and the scholarship application can be found here.

Foster G. McGaw Prize for Excellence in Community Service
Honors healthcare delivery organizations that have demonstrated exceptional commitment to community service.
Application Deadline: Apr 1, 2016 

Rural Hospital Leadership Award
Provides an educational stipend to a small or rural hospital administrator or chief executive officer to attend an AHA Annual Meeting or Health Forum Leadership Conference.
Geographic coverage: Nationwide
Application Deadline: Aug 12, 2016 

4 The Wounded 5K Grant
Deadline: Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Grants of up to $10,000 are available from the UVA Foundation for non-profits directly providing programs and services to benefit wounded warriors and/or military veterans in Charlottesville, Albemarle, Augusta, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, Madison, and Nelson counties.

Cadence, Inc. Community Giving Program
Deadline: Thursday, March 31, 2016
Grants will be awarded to Staunton, Waynesboro, and Augusta County to support vocational/technical education, community teams and groups, and local capital campaigns.

Community Foundation Strengthening Systems Grants
Deadline: Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Anticipate awarding grants in the range of $25,000- $100,000, annually, for 2-3 years. The Community Foundation welcomes prospective partners to submit a 2-page concept paper that provides an initial overview of a potential Systems Strengthening program opportunity in the Charlottesville area.

Hillman Foundation Innovations in Care
Deadline: Monday, March 21, 2016
Grants of $600,000 will be awarded to enhance and expand nursing-driven models of care that benefit vulnerable populations. Organizations offering healthcare to vulnerable populations, including the economically disadvantaged, racial and ethnic minorities, LGBQT, the homeless, rural populations, and other groups that encounter barriers to accessing healthcare services are encouraged to apply.

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Virginia Rural Health Association
2265 Kraft Drive
Blacksburg, VA 24060

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