Virginia Rural Health Association - Weekly Update
VRHA Weekly Update
In this Issue  July 13, 2015

VRHA News Virginia News National News Mark your calendar
Funding Opportunities


Newsletter available






Agriculture is a major part of the rural landscape, the rural culture, and the rural economy. But the reach and impact of agriculture goes well beyond the rural communities. Agriculture affects the lives of all Virginians; from the food we eat to the health of the Commonwealth’s economy.  Agriculture continues to be Virginia’s number one economic generator.  

Farmers are at the heart of our subsistence. They are an independent, proud, and resourceful group of Virginians, who define their lives by what they do. Sometimes farmers sustain injuries, or illnesses, or have a disability that impedes their ability to work safely, effectively, and productively.

AgrAbility Virginia is here to help these farmers be able to continue to work in their chosen profession and to continue to live the lives that define who they are.  This session will focus on an overview of AgrAbility Virginia and the kinds of services and educational opportunities  we offer to support rural Virginia stay healthy and productive.  Come learn how you can connect people in your community to AgrAbility Virginia!
GIF logo

Annual Conference
October 13 & 14
Staunton, VA

Click the logo for full conference details.

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Telehealth Webinars

VRHA has partnered with WeCounsel to offer you a 3-part webinar series on telehealth.  This series will provide a high level understanding of what it takes to effectively implement a successful telehealth program.  The last session in the series will be: 

  • July 20: will outline effective use cases and how to develop an effective business model for a Telehealth initiative. This webinar will cover exactly how to plan, develop and implement a successful telehealth initiative. 

The webinars are free to all Virginia rural health stakeholders, regardless of VRHA membership status - so feel free to pass this information along!

Visit the VRHA webinar page for details and registration.

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Virginia News

Pressure for Expansion

By Dan Heyman - Public News Service

With the major legal challenge done, Virginia healthcare reform groups now aim to put public pressure on lawmakers to expand Medicaid. Karen Cameron, director with Virginia Consumer Voices for Health Care, would like the General Assembly to hear from folks in the coverage gap - people with too much income for current Medicaid, but too poor to get a tax credit in the health insurance exchanges. 

"People should contact their members of the General Assembly and let them know why closing the coverage gap is important," says Cameron. "We can make others, including our decision makers aware of the diversity of people in the coverage gap and the circumstances that have put them there." 

Read the full article and a related article from Virginia First.

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New Mental Health Laws

Eight pieces of mental health legislation passed by the Virginia General Assembly this year, and signed by the governor, took effect on July 1. The legislation includes measures to keep the state's psychiatric bed registry updated more effectively, greater access to naloxone for use in opiate overdoses, and the tweaking of other emergency protocols.

Read a summary of all eight bills.

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Infant Oral Health

The Virginia Department of Health was awarded one of seven HRSA grants for the Perinatal Infant Oral Health Quality Improvement Expansion initiative. This four- year award, designed to fund oral health and maternal health integration efforts, will enable the VDH to work with multiple partners (including VaOHC) to:

  • Build dental workforce capacity through professional trainings 
  • Increase integration efforts among oral health, maternal health and pediatric practices
  • Enhance data collection
  • Develop oral health care integration using VDH remote supervision dental hygienists and home visiting programs

The grant period begins in August. To learn more or to get involved, contact Katherine Libby.

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National News

General Surgery Residency

By Steve Young - Argus Leader

Surgeon Dr. Gary Timmerman bent low nearby, pulling up the covers for his patient, tucking her into bed, lingering there until he knew she had everything she needed.
"It was like, 'Wow,' " Melissa Johnson recalls now. "I'll be honest, I had never thought of surgeon as a possible career for me because, I mean, establishing a good relationship with your patient and having a good bedside manner ... those were important to me, and I didn't think it was possible as a surgeon."
Ask her today, and Dr. Melissa Johnson will tell you it was a selling point in her decision to pursue a different career track – as a surgeon at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Sioux Falls. But just as important as that bedside manner now is the fact she also has signed on to help Timmerman run the newest residency program at the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine, a five-year training exercise in general surgery meant to spread more such physicians across the rural landscape.

Read the full article.

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Hazardous to Your Health 

John Commins - HealthLeaders Media

Many of the health issues that plagued rural America a decade ago are still prevalent today, research finds. "It is very discouraging," says the director of Southwest Rural Health Research Center.
We know the healthcare challenges facing the 60 million Americans living in rural areas, a population that is generally older, less-healthy, and less-affluent than people living in urban areas. The health issues for rural America are variations on a theme. In one region, the leading health concern might be diabetes and obesity. In another area it might be substance abuse, or mental health, or oral health.

A new guidebook out this week from Texas A&M School of Public Health makes this abundantly clear. Rural Healthy People 2020 is a follow-up report coming a decade after the highly successful Rural Healthy People 2010. Thumb through this reference book, which compiles stats and data from a number of sources, and you get the impression that living in rural America is hazardous to your health.

Read the full article.

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Sanitizing the Census

By Lance George - Daily Yonder

With the recent foreclosure crisis and the rise of housing affordability problems, concerns around substandard and dilapidated homes may have waned or been pushed in to the background. Indeed, long-term efforts to improve housing conditions have resulted in dramatic reductions in the most egregious housing deficiencies. In 1970, more than 3.5 million homes in the United States were without complete plumbing facilities. In 2013, the number of homes lacking adequate plumbing declined to roughly 570,000, or less than 1 percent of the nation’s housing stock. An estimated 70 percent of these “plumbing-inadequate” homes lack a functioning flush toilet.

The Census Bureau wants to cut the “flush-toilet” question from its largest survey, saying the query is an “unnecessary burden on the American Public.” But changing the definition of inadequate plumbing won’t make it go away. A large number of homes without working toilets are located in rural and small-town areas. In some rural communities, especially on Native American lands, the incidence of homes lacking basic plumbing can exceed 20 times the national rate.

Read the full commentary.

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Rural Homelessness

By Theresa Wiltz - Stateline

At the Micah Ecumenical Ministries, in the center of this quaint colonial town, Stella Dempsey sits in the waiting room, looking dejected. Ministry staffers offered her a bed at a shelter, but she says she can’t bear to go back. Still, she’s feeling desperate.

She is homeless and jobless and sleeps in a tent in the woods. She’s got cirrhosis of the liver, high blood pressure, diabetes and a bad back. Two months ago, she said, she almost died. Now, she’s run out of all her medications, from her bipolar meds to her insulin. She is not eligible for Medicaid under Virginia law.

The causes of homelessness in small towns are the same as in big cities: poverty, mental illness, inadequate housing, domestic violence and the psychological wounds of war, according to the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness. But rural areas are more likely to be poor, with limited transportation, making it that much harder for the homeless to get to a center that can provide counseling, a housing voucher or medical care.

Read the full article.

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Mark Your Calendar

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

July 20: Effective Business Models for Telehealth - webinar
August 24-27: Arthritis, AgrAbility, and Rural Health Conference - Knoxville, TN
September 29-30: Rural Health Clinic Conference - Kansas City, MO
September 30-October 2: Critical Access Hospital Conference - Kansas City, MO
October 13-14: VRHA Annual Conference - Staunton
October 15: REVIVE! Training of Trainers - Staunton

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Caregiving in the U.S. 2015
A national profile of unpaid family caregivers. Section M, Respondent Profile, includes demographic and other information by location of caregiver and care recipient residence for urban/suburban and rural areas.

Foundation Grants to Rural Areas from 2005 to 2010: Trends and Patterns
Describes trends in foundation grant funding provided to benefit rural communities, how funds are allocated, what types of foundations fund rural projects, and how grants are distributed geographically. Includes grants to rural-based organizations and to urban organizations for work primarily benefiting rural areas. Provides information on funding for rural health, as well as topics that impact health, such as food and nutrition. Discusses factors that may impact the capacity of rural communities to secure grant funding.

Older Americans Act: Updated Information on Unmet Need for Services
Examines older adults' reported need for home and community-based services and the potential unmet need for these services. Includes metropolitan and non-metropolitan data on food insecurity and receipt of congregate and home-delivered meals.

Recruitment of Non-U.S. Citizen Physicians to Rural and Underserved Areas through Conrad State 30 J-1 Visa Waiver Programs
Collects and aggregates information from states to identify and characterize national trends in waivers and factors related to states' successful recruitment of international medical graduates to provide care to rural and underserved areas.

Rural Training Track Programs: A Guide to the Medicare Requirements
Provides guidance to urban hospitals, rural hospitals, and rural nonhospital clinical training sites on how to take part in a Rural Training Track (RTT) to train residents to practice in rural areas. Explains how hospitals can receive additional payments from Medicare to train residents in an RTT program, beyond the graduate medical education (GME) caps in place since 1996.

Understanding the Geography of Growth in Rural Child Poverty
Discusses variations in child poverty among rural counties, based on 2009-2013 American Community Survey data. Includes a map showing rural counties with high child poverty. Discusses family- and community-level factors impacting child poverty.

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Funding Opportunities

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

UVa Frank Batten School Student Grant Program    
Deadline: 8/15/2015
Funding to nonprofits in the City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County that focus on areas such as food insecurity, health and access to health care, and access to housing.  

AIDS United: Positive Organizing Project
The Positive Organizing Project, administered by AIDS United with funding from Gilead, is designed to revitalize a grassroots organizing movement among people living with HIV and AIDS. The overarching goal of this initiative is to increase grassroots mobilization and engagement among people living with HIV within service delivery systems that directly impact stigma, improve the policy and community environment for inclusive and effective HIV programs, and indirectly improve outcomes along the HIV continuum of care. Grants will range from $10,000 to $20,000, with an average of $15,000. Nonprofit organizations throughout the United States that meet the program’s criteria are eligible to apply. The application deadline is August 14, 2015.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: Data Across Sectors for Health
Data Across Sectors for Health (DASH), a national initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, supports multi-sector collaborations sharing data and information to improve the health of their communities. DASH will provide grants of up to $200,000 to community collaborations and initiatives nationwide that have used shared data and information to increase their capacity for planning, implementing, and evaluating health improvement activities. The focus is on helping community collaborations to strengthen data and information sharing among partners, engage additional partners across and beyond traditional health sectors, and build sustainable capacity. Applicants should have active relationships with organizations in two or more sectors relevant to community health improvement objectives, encompassing healthcare and at least one other sector, such as human services, community development, education, etc. Nonprofit organizations and public entities are eligible to apply. The deadline for brief proposals is July 29, 2015; full proposals will be due on October 21, 2015.

TD Charitable Foundation: Housing for Everyone Grant Competition
The TD Charitable Foundation is dedicated to sustaining the well-being of the communities served by the bank in Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington, DC. The Foundation’s 2015 Housing for Everyone grants focus on affordable housing for seniors. Applications must highlight the ways in which funding will create new units focused on the needs of the elderly, including access to medical and health services; proximity to shopping, community, and transportation services; and adaptability to the changing needs of aging populations. Twenty-five grants of $100,000 will be awarded to nonprofit organizations in communities served by TD Bank. The application deadline is September 4, 2015.

AMA Foundation Healthy Living Grant
Application deadline: Sep 11, 2015
Provides healthy lifestyles seed grants for grassroots public health programs. This year's grants are supporting projects in the areas of youth-focused prescription medication safety and cancer prevention education.

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Virginia Rural Health Association
2265 Kraft Drive
Blacksburg, VA 24060

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