Virginia Rural Health Association - Weekly Update

VRHA Weekly Update
In this Issue  July 25, 2016

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

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VRHA News

VRHA Awards

All Virginia Rural Health Association members and member organizations are invited to submit nominations for the 2016 Virginia Rural Health Association Awards.  Nominees are not required to be members of the association.  Commitment and service to the advancement of rural health in Virginia may be in the form of direct provision of health care services, governmental or educational advocacy, activities or research that improves the health of communities or populations.

Awards Categories:

Lawmaker of the Year - Lawmaker of the Year is designed to give special recognition to an elected official at any level who has demonstrated support for improving health in rural Virginia.
 
The Charles Crowder, Jr. Award - This award is given annually by the Virginia Rural Health Association to recognize outstanding individual commitment and service to the advancement of rural health in Virginia.
 
The Best Practices in Rural Health Award - This award is given annually by the Virginia Rural Health Association to recognize a program or institution that exemplifies commitment and service to the advancement of rural health in Virginia.
 
The Ken Studer Friend of the Association Award - This award is given to recognize a program, institution or individual that has advocated for or aided the Association in support of the Association’s mission.


Click here to download the nomination form. You can also read about past honorees.

Nomination Deadline: September 2, 2016

Awards Presentation: Honorees will be recognized during the Awards Luncheon on October 19th, 2016 at the VRHA Conference in Abingdon, Virginia.
 

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Members in the News

From Progress-Index

The John Randolph Foundation announced 14 recipients of almost $400,000 in grant funds that will go toward supporting health, quality of life and education efforts.

Of the total $382,000 that will be conferred on the 14 nonprofits working in the region, the largest award will go to [VRHA member] Central Virginia Health Services. This group will receive $125,000 to support affordable health, behavioral health and dental care and medications at the Hopewell-Prince George Community Health Center.

Read the full article and an article about the additional grant CVHS received from the Cameron Foundation.

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Many Members in the News

From the Augusta Free Press

Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced that the USDA will provide funding for three Distance Learning and Telemedicine projects that will help connect rural communities in Southwest Virginia with medical and educational experts in other parts of the state and increase access to mental health care and specialty services.

The funds will provide direct and indirect support to a large number of VRHA-member facilities.

Read the full article.

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Virginia News

Expand Wellness

From the Office of the Governor

Governor McAuliffe today announced Virginia’s wellness program that helps older Virginians with chronic diseases has won a $900,000 grant to expand across the Commonwealth and include individuals with dementia and their caregivers.  The Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services already offers free “You Can! Live Well, Virginia!” workshops focused on chronic disease self-management through some Area Agencies on Aging; the two-year grant from the federal Administration for Community Living will allow DARS to expand the program to all 25 AAAs, reaching almost 2,500 participants. For the six years the program has existed, it has helped more than 10,000 Virginians learn to better manage their health issues.

“More than 85 percent of older adults live with at least one chronic condition and more than 60 percent have at least two. Expenditures for chronic diseases consume 86 percent of all health care spending,” said Governor McAuliffe. “If we can help older adults manage their symptoms better and communicate better with their doctors, family members and caretakers, they will not only feel better, they may spend less time in the hospital.”

The grant begins August 1, 2016. DARS will partner with the Alzheimer’s Association chapters in Virginia to establish a statewide referral system to extend this effort to about 360 individuals with early-stage dementia and their caregivers, and to provide training on dementia to those who lead the workshops at the local level. 

Read the full press release.

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RAM

By Damean Mathews - Bristol Herald Courier

Although temperatures were scorching and the lines were long, Miriam “Brooke” Upchurch was all smiles Friday when she spoke to the orthodontists in the dental triage tent at the Remote Area Medical clinic. Upchurch, of Big Stone Gap, was there to have five teeth pulled due to a calcium deficiency that causes them to hollow out. Afterward, she would be provided with a partial denture to replace them, all free of charge.

This was her first year at RAM, an event that offers free medical, vision and dental care for those who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford it. The RAM event, the 17th in Wise, is organized in conjunction with the Health Wagon, a traveling medical facility. Held at the Wise County Fairgrounds, the clinic typically draws 2,500 to 3,000, according to Teresa Gardner, executive director of the Health Wagon.

Read the full article, related story in the Richmond Times-Dispatch and editorial from Governor McAuliffe.

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Virginia News Headline #3

Virginia News Headline #3 text here...

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National News

Not Enough

By Diane Calmus - National Rural Health Association

Sens. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D) recently introduced a bill that establishes a core set of health care quality measures for rural providers and provides grants for rural providers to participate in quality improvement and reporting programs.
 
The National Rural Health Association is pleased with steps working toward including rural providers in Medicare and Medicaid quality measurement and improvement programs based on the recommendations of the National Quality Forum’s Rural Health Committee of which NRHA is a member.
 
However, NRHA is disappointed the bill fails to address the needs of the many rural hospitals struggling with continued Medicare cuts that have resulted in negative average Medicare margins and have made one in three rural hospitals vulnerable to closure.

“Without addressing the rural hospital closure crisis, we risk leaving the most vulnerable rural Americans without access to a hospital,” says Maggie Elehwany, NRHA government affairs and advocacy vice president. “Hospital quality improvement programs cannot help a community that has lost their hospital.”

See the related announcement from the Office of Senator Al Franken.

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Low Business Interest

By Tim Marema - Daily Yonder

Large, corporate hospital operators have closed rural healthcare facilities based on their business interests and haven’t considered community needs or public input, according to a report released by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The study looked at three different communities that in 2015 lost their critical access hospitals – hospitals that receive special consideration because they serve hard-to-reach rural areas. The hospitals in the study were Mercy Hospital in Independence, Kansas; Parkway Regional Hospital in Fulton, Kentucky; and Marlboro Park Hospital in Bennettsville, South Carolina.

“The large health systems that owned and managed the hospitals [that closed] made the decision to close … based not on community needs but on corporate business considerations that favored other hospitals in their system over the ones they closed,” the report said. “Typically, there was little or no local process of consultations or public input.”

Read the full article.

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Regulation Changes = Layoffs

By Thomas Gounley - Springfield News Leader

The head of Springfield-based OCH Health System — the company that runs Ozarks Community Hospital — said in a memo to staff Monday that 200 employees will be losing their jobs as the system closes that facility's surgery department and emergency room. 

In the memo, system CEO Paul Taylor says the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has "published notice that it is terminating our Medicare agreement because we do not satisfy the federal definition of a hospital."

Read the full article.

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Meet David Schmitz

By Allee Mead - Rural Health Information Hub

David Schmitz has an impressive résumé. The Idaho physician and medical educator serves as the Chief Rural Officer and Program Director of RTTs at the Family Medicine Residency of Idaho. In addition, he is the co-creator of the Community Apgar Program (CAP), an assessment tool that allows rural health facilities to test their ability to recruit talent to the area, and he was voted the 2016 National Rural Health Association (NRHA) president-elect and 2014 Volunteer of the Year, among other professional and volunteer endeavors.

Here, he shares his thoughts on the strengths of rural communities, the challenges they face, and his pride in being a “country doctor.”

Read the interview transcript.

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Mark Your Calendar

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

July 30-31: Southwest Virginia Pediatric Conference - Abingdon
August 3: Opioid Prescribing: Safe Practice, Changing Lives ​- webinar
August 3: Ongoing Rural Health Clinic Survey Readiness - webinar
August 25: New HCV Testing Policies: Reality for Rural Clinics​ - webinar
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

Federal Register notices related to Opioid Use Disorders

AHRQ:  Mapping Telehealth Outcomes
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has released a  technical brief that describes for rural stakeholders and others an assessment of the “state of the science” of telehealth.  It summarizes available evidence, identifies areas where telehealth can be effective and other areas in which more research is needed.  The brief provides potentially valuable information to health care providers and payers information on the effectiveness of telehealth as they assess its role in the health care system, which increasingly is rewarding value over volume of care.

Model Program:Madison Outreach and Services through Telehealth (MOST)
Connects patients to mental health and substance abuse counseling services through video technology.


Healthcare Expansion Toolkit
Resources from the Virginia Interfaither Center for Public Policy for those who wish to get engaged in the development of initiatives to drive this issue forward.
 

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Funding Opportunities

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

Assistance for Socially-Disadvantaged Groups
Deadline August 1.
The US. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Business-Cooperative Service will make an expected 20 awards of up to $175,000 for assistance in rural areas to “any group whose members have been subjected to racial, ethnic, or gender prejudice because of their identity.” Eligibility extends to cooperatives, defined in the Federal Register notice as “a business or organization owned by and operated for the benefit of those using its services.”  Interested applicants are encouraged to contact the USDA Rural Development State Office for questions and assistance.


Target Field Trip Grants
The Target Field Trip Grants program provides funds for K-12 field trips in order to give students throughout the country the opportunity to explore more of the world outside the classroom. Grants of up to $700 each will be awarded to educators, teachers, principals, paraprofessionals, and classified staff who are employed by accredited K-12 public, private, or charter schools. (Parents, volunteers, after-school programs, Pre-K groups, and childcare centers are not eligible to apply.) Types of funded trips include art, science, and cultural museum visits; community service and civic projects; career enrichment opportunities; and other events or activities away from the school facility. Funds may be used to cover trip-related costs such as transportation, ticket fees, food, resource materials, and supplies. Online applications will be accepted between August 1 and October 1, 2016.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Future of Nursing Scholars program
FNS is to develop the next generation of PhD-prepared nurse leaders who are committed to long-term careers that advance science and discovery, strengthen nursing education, and bring transformational change to nursing and health care.  Each scholar will receive $75,000 to be used over the three years of the program. This award must be matched by $50,000 in support from the school (which may be in-kind).
Deadline: September 15, 2016

Avon Breast Health Outreach Program
The mission of the Avon Breast Health Outreach Program (BHOP) is to link medically underserved women and men to breast health education and screening services. Grants are available to community-based nonprofit organizations and healthcare agencies in the U.S., Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Avon BHOP supports non-medical expenses incurred by funded programs to link underserved women with free or low-cost breast cancer screening services and follow-up care. Grant funds will be awarded to around 55 organizations. The majority of the grants will range from $30,000 to $60,000, with an average of $45,000. To ensure that smaller community-based organizations receive funding, at least 30% of the grants will be awarded to organizations with operating budgets under $2,000,000. Projects in Avon Walk Cities as well as states with high breast cancer incidence or morbidity are of special interest; however, BHOP attempts to distribute funds throughout the entire U.S. The application deadline is August 19, 2016. 

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Virginia Rural Health Association
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