Virginia Rural Health Association - Weekly Update
VRHA Weekly Update
In this Issue  January 25, 2016

VRHA News Virginia News National News Mark your calendar
Funding Opportunities


Read the January OMHHE Newsletter to see the Legislative Districts dashboard now active on Virginia HOI website!





Coming Wednesday!

Rural Health Clinics, Federally Qualified Health Clinics and Critical Access Hospitals  play a key role in the sustainability of Virginia’s rural health systems and are eligible to receive services through the Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative (TCPI) funding.  The support, training and programs provided will allow RHC’s, FQHC’s and CAH’s  to establish a value-based infrastructure at no cost. 

VRHA is teaming up with the National Rural Accountable Care Consortium to present:
Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative 
This free webinar will outline the tools and resources provided through the program and demonstrate the value they bring to RHC’s, FQHC’s and CAH’s.

So save the date for noon on January 27th and learn all about it!

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RHC Capstone Meeting

Virginia Rural Health Clinic Meeting - March 23 & 24  Blacksburg, VA

The next step in our process of creating a Rural Health Clinic Coalition in Virginia will be to host a state-wide capstone meeting.  This will include a strategic planning session to identify specific recommendations for the sustainability and viability of the Virginia RHC Coalition as well as providing RHC educational sessions.

There will be no registration fee for any staff member from a Rural Health Clinic in Virginia who wishes to attend. We will also be able to subsidize part of your travel expenses.  

Click here for event details and registration.

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Members in the News

By Bill Lohmann - Richmond Times-Dispatch

As I walked onto the front porch of the David B. Nichols Health Center, it amazed me to think it had been five years since the place opened — five years since Tangier gained a remarkable, state-of-the-art medical facility and five years since it lost the man whose name is on the sign.

“David would be proud,” said his friend [VRHA member] Jimmie Carter, who led the fundraising effort to build the health center and is chairman of the Tangier Island Health Foundation, a nonprofit that owns and maintains the facility. The medical side of things is overseen by Riverside Medical Group, which acquired Nichols’ practice before his death and continues to send physicians from the mainland to Tangier every Thursday, just as Nichols did.

Read the full article.

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Virginia News

COPN Regulations

By Luanne Rife - Roanoke Times

Does government regulation of hospitals protect or harm patients? Lawmakers will be asked to consider that question as three Republican delegates seek to abolish Virginia’s Certificate of Public Need process, which regulates whether hospitals can expand beds and services. John O’Bannon of Henrico County, Kathy Byron of Campbell County and Christopher Peace of Hanover County jointly announced they would file a flurry of bills to kill COPN in Virginia. They differ only in how quickly to do so. 

They say the process limits access to services by putting health care in the hands of monopolies that charge whatever they want, instead of allowing the free access of choices and market pricing that comes from competition. Supporters counter that health care isn’t like shopping for a new television or deciding where to eat out — patients need services to be available even if they can’t pay for them. 

The state’s hospitals plan to fight repeal and support minor reforms suggested by a state work group that studied the system at the behest of lawmakers. Under Virginia’s COPN process, health care providers — mostly hospitals and nursing homes — are required to show a public need when they seek to add new facilities and equipment, such as CT scanning, MRI equipment, stand-alone surgery centers or more beds. On granting approval, the state requires providers to offer specified amounts of charitable care to patients who cannot afford the services.

Read the full article.

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Legislative Update

Recently introduced legislation which could impact health and healthcare in rural Virginia:

  • SB 620 Nurse practitioners; eliminates requirement that they practice as part of patient care team
  • HB 1204 Virginia Health Care Access Fund; created
  • HB 1205 Secretary of Health and Human Resources; increase sharing of electronic health records, report
  • HB 1273 X-ray machines; expands authority of Department of Health to regulate
  • HB 1292 Schedule IV drugs; adds eluxadoline to list
  • HB 1369 Virginia Health Care Innovation Fund

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Nominate An Unsung Hero!

The Virginia Health Care Foundation (VHCF) is pleased to announce that it is now accepting nominations for its 2016 Unsung Hero Awards.  These awards recognize outstanding efforts that have substantially benefited various VHCF-funded projects and their patients/clients.  Each winner receives a special gift and a $2,000 monetary award for the organization nominating him/her, made possible by the Virginia Association of Health Plans.
We invite you to nominate someone from one of the following categories (volunteer, donor, physician, teamwork, or employee) who has made a real difference for your organization.  An independent panel of judges will review all nominations and select a winner in each category. 

Click here for more information. The nomination form must be received at VHCF no later than 5pm, Friday, January 29, 2016.

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National News

Rural Residency

By Jeremy Olson - Star Tribune 

Health care leaders in western Wisconsin are providing doctors with on-the-job residency training in local hospitals in the hope it will entice them to stick around when they choose where to set up their practices. With a $750,000 grant from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, HealthPartners is launching a residency program that will rotate doctors-in-training through Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park for one year, and then through smaller Wisconsin hospitals in Amery, New Richmond and Hudson over the following two years. 

“One of the best predictors of where a physician will locate a practice is where he or she completes a medical residency,” said Deb Rudquist, president and chief executive of Amery Medical Center, which will receive its first medical resident in 2019.

The program represents a novel solution to a national shortage of primary care doctors that is predicted to worsen in coming years as baby boomer physicians retire. All doctors must complete residencies in their chosen specialties after graduating medical school, but there has been little growth in residency slots nationwide because they can be costly for teaching hospitals, and the federal Medicare program caps how much financial support it provides to those hospitals.

The program in Wisconsin takes advantage of a loophole that permits Medicare to support new residency programs at “critical access” hospitals — generally small, rural hospitals with no more than 25 inpatient beds. So while HealthPartners can’t gain Medicare support while the new residents train at Methodist, it will be reimbursed when the residents rotate through the Wisconsin hospitals.

Read the full article.

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Boosting Mothers' Moods

By Anne Easker - Iowa Now

MomMoodBooster is an online intervention tool that helps mothers who live in rural areas cope with their depression.  “Women in rural areas often don’t seek out or have access to mental health care,” says Michael O’Hara, professor and Starch Faculty Fellow in the UI Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. “Reaching out in particular to rural veteran women seemed to me like it was just something important to do.”

So far, about 40 women from across the country have taken part in MomMoodBooster with positive results. Over a six-week period, women participate in six sessions that target managing mood, increasing pleasant activities, managing negative thoughts, increasing positive thoughts, and planning for the future. Phone coaches also call to check in with the women, tracking progress, answering questions, and providing encouragement.

The program will continue at least through the end of September, when the VA will determine whether to continue funding, and O’Hara expects to write a research study based on the results of the pilot. The MomMoodBooster project is funded by the VA Office of Rural Health and the VA Office of Women’s Health Services.

Read the full article.

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Cops and Mental Health

A few weeks after Cody officer Seth Horn went through Crisis Intervention Training, or “CIT,” he went out on a call to see a man who was potentially suicidal. Horn wasn’t fresh on the force--he had encountered people in a mental health crisis many times before. Before CIT, Horn might ask those people something along the lines of, “Are you planning on hurting yourself?”

But during CIT’s forty hours of intensive training with other cops and local mental health workers on how to deal with people who have mental health issues, Horn learned that “Are you planning on hurting yourself?” is a vague question that can yield misleading answers. Some suicide methods might not be thought of as physically painful by the person in crisis. So Horn went with something more difficult, but more direct.

Across the country, the first professional responder someone in a mental health crisis sees is often law enforcement. That’s especially the case in Wyoming, where the suicide rate is double the national average and lacks the mental health resources of more urban areas. CIT has been used since the late 1980s by law enforcement agencies across the country to improve officers’ interactions with people in a mental health crisis. The program was introduced in Wyoming a decade ago, but it's been slow to spread, especially to more rural communities.

Read the full article.

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Dropping Broadband

By Tim Marema - Daily Yonder

At a time when more Americans say high-speed digital access is critical for ordinary activities like finding a job, getting an education, or receiving healthcare, more American families are dropping broadband because of financial constraints.

The Pew Center found that home broadband use fell nationally by 3 points from 2013 to 2015, standing now at 67% percent. The decline was even greater for rural residents; 65% said they had broadband access at home in 2013, versus 60% this year.

The top reason survey respondents cited for not having broadband at home was cost. A third of people who lacked broadband said the monthly fee was too expensive. Ten percent said the cost of a computer was prohibitive.  Rural areas have lower per-capita and household incomes than the nation as a whole, and that could be one reason rural usage declined at a bigger rate than the nation as a whole, said researcher John B. Horrigan, one of the report’s authors. Rural residents are also older than the population as a whole, and older Americans are less likely to use broadband, he said.

Availability and quality of broadband could also play a role in rural America’s lower home use of broadband, Horrigan said. “Rural respondents were a little more likely to say that broadband was either not available or wasn’t of sufficient quality” to be worth the cost, Horrigan said.

Read the full article.

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Mark Your Calendar

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

February 2-4: Rural Health Policy Institute - Washington, DC
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

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Commission of a Surgeon General's Report on Substance Use, Addiction, and Health
Announces the first-ever Surgeon General's report on the state of the science on substance use, addiction, and health. This report will include a comprehensive examination of the effects of drug and alcohol misuse from prevention, treatment, recovery, neurobiology, and delivery of care. 

Rural America at a Glance
This report highlights the most recent indicators of social and economic conditions in rural areas, focusing on the U.S. rural economy, including employment, population, poverty trends, and educational attainment trends. 

Foundation Funding To Improve Rural Health Care
Provides a sampling of foundation funding that is supporting innovation in healthcare delivery in rural settings.

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Funding Opportunities

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

Clark Memorial Fund Grants
Deadline: 07/01/2016
Funding to organizations that defray the cost of hospitalization or provide medical services, including education and prevention of health issues, to needy and indigent persons. The Fund distributes 10 grants per year that have an average size ranging from $3,000 to $5,000.
Geographic coverage: Halifax County, Virginia

Accountable Health Communities Model
Grant objective is to test whether screening beneficiaries for health-related social needs and associated referrals to and navigation of community-based services will improve quality and affordability in Medicare and Medicaid.
Geographic coverage: Nationwide
Letter of Intent (Required): Feb 8, 2016
Application Deadline: Mar 31, 2016 

Lowe's Toolbox for Education Program
Provides grants for school improvement projects, including school gardens, physical fitness areas, and walking trails.
Geographic coverage: Nationwide
Application Deadline: Feb 12, 2016 

Connections for Cardiovascular Health
Provides grants to nonprofit organizations working to improve cardiovascular health at the community level.
Geographic coverage: Nationwide
Application Deadline: Feb 25, 2016 

Small Health Care Provider Quality Improvement Grant Program (SHCPQI)
The purpose of this program is to provide support to rural primary care providers for planning and implementation of quality improvement activities.
Geographic coverage: Nationwide
Application Deadline: Mar 4, 2016 

NURSE Corps Loan Repayment Program
The purpose of the NURSE Corps Loan Repayment Program is to assist in the recruitment and retention of professional registered nurses (RNs) and advanced practice registered nurses dedicated to working in health care facilities with a critical shortage of nurses, or working as nurse faculty at an eligible school of nursing.
Deadline: February 25, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time (ET).

Christopher Reeve Foundation Quality of Life Grants
Grants to nonprofit organizations that provide services to individuals with paralysis, with special consideration given to wounded military and their families.
Geographic coverage: Nationwide
Application Deadline: Feb 15, 2016 

Anthem Foundation Grants
Supports health and wellness programs including prevention and education programs in the areas of healthy hearts, diabetes, cancer, maternal health, and active lifestyles.
Geographic coverage: Operates in 25 states (including Virginia)
Application Deadline: Feb 19, 2016 

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Virginia Rural Health Association
2265 Kraft Drive
Blacksburg, VA 24060

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