Virginia Rural Health Association - Weekly Update
VRHA Weekly Update
In this Issue June 15, 2015

VRHA News Virginia News National News Mark your calendar
Funding Opportunities


June Newsletter






NRHA CEO Alan Morgan will be one of the featured speakers at the VRHA Annual Conference.

Alan Morgan has more than 25 years experience in health policy development at the state and federal level.  He served as staff for former US Congressman Dick Nichols and former Kansas Governor Mike Hayden. Additionally, his experience includes tenures with the American Society of Clinical Pathologists and with the Heart Rhythm Society where he established a Washington, DC based government affairs office. Prior to joining NRHA, he served as a federal lobbyist for VHA Inc.
Mr. Morgan’s health policy articles have been published in: The American Journal of Clinical Medicine, The Journal of Rural Health, The Journal of Cardiovascular Management, The Journal of Pacing and Clinical Electrophysiology, Cardiac Electrophysiology Review, and in Laboratory Medicine.  He also served as a co-author for the publication, “Policy & Politics in Nursing and Health Care,” and for the publication, “Rural Populations and Health.” In 2014, he was selected by readers of Modern Healthcare Magazine as being among the top 100 most influential people in healthcare.

Click the conference logo for event details.
GIF logo
Annual Conference
October 13 & 14
Staunton, VA

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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.

  • June 23: will highlight reimbursement policies for the state of Virginia in regards to telehealth. Getting paid is critical to any successful telehealth program.  Join us as we discuss the reimbursement landscape for Medicare/Medicaid and private payers in regards to telehealth, and how telehealth can be a successful revenue stream for your practice. 
  • 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, registration and an archive of the May 19th presentation on regulations.

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Virginia News

Expansion and the White House

By Alan Suderman - Washington Post

The Obama administration said that Virginia would have healthier and less depressed residents, as well as a better economy, if it expanded a publicly funded health insurance program for the poor.

The White House Council of Economic Advisers released a report saying that states that have expanded Medicaid are better off and if Virginia were to do so, an additional 179,000 residents would have health insurance coverage and 16,000 fewer would experience symptoms of depression.

The report also said Virginia will miss out on $1.24 billion in federal funding in 2016 by not expanding Medicaid. The report’s figures were provided by the Urban Institute, a nonprofit public policy group in Washington.

Read the full article.

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Primary Care Consortium

By Eric Peters - Virginia Commonwealth University

Virginia Commonwealth University  received a three-year $10 million grant to establish a statewide consortium to help small-to-medium-sized primary care practices in Virginia deliver better care, shepherd better patient experiences and improve satisfaction among clinicians.

The project will serve up to 300 practices in the commonwealth and focus on improving heart health. VCU is one of seven grantees across the nation awarded as part of EvidenceNOW – Advancing Heart Health in Primary Care, an Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality initiative.

Read the full press release.

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Hepatitis C is Here

By Julie Steenhuysen - Reuters

Rates of hepatitis C infections more than tripled in four Appalachian states from 2006 to 2012, fueled by prescription drug abuse among those who inject drugs, especially in rural areas. National data show rising rates of hepatitis C virus infection across the nation, with the biggest increases among people under age 30 living in Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia, according to a report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In those four states alone, hepatitis C infections rose 364 percent from 2006 to 2012. Nearly half of those cases (44.8 percent) were among people under age 30.  Of the cases for which researchers gathered data about potential risk factors, 73.1 percent reported injecting drugs.

Read the full article and a related story by WJHL.

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National News

No Complaining 

By Carrie Ghose - ​Columbus Business First

One in three small, rural Ohio hospitals has an operating margin of less than 1 percent. But they're not about to start loudly complaining about how tenuous their financial future is, said Scott Borgemenke, the Ohio Hospital Association's top lobbyist. 

“These rural hospitals, they’re in trouble.  It is one of the hardest things for us to talk to people about,” he said. "(The hospitals are) afraid if they tell people the problem, people will think the care is suffering. They won’t go – it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

A recent financial review by OHA found 22 small, rural hospitals just barely breaking even, which represents 31 percent of rural members and 10 percent of all 220 hospitals.

Read the full article.

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Limited OB Access

National Public Radio

Only 17 of 54 of Alabama's rural counties have hospitals that offer obstetrics services. It's one of the state's greatest healthcare challenges. NPR's Karen Grigsby Bates speaks with journalist Anna Claire Vollers of and Dale Quinney of the Alabama Rural Health Association.

KAREN GRIGSBY BATES, HOST: Imagine you're about nine months pregnant, and you start to fill those twinges - contractions - that indicate your baby's on the way. As the contractions get stronger, you have to consider what to do. If you live in a city or a suburb, it's pretty obvious. You hop in a cab or a car and go. But what if your closest delivery center is more than an hour away? That's the dilemma many women in rural Alabama are facing, says reporter Anna Claire Vollers.

ANNA CLAIRE VOLLERS: You can drive like crazy and hope you get to the hospital in time. Or you could schedule a C-section, even though it may not be medically necessary. Or you can go to the nearest emergency room and have your baby delivered by an ER doctor. Or you can deliver at home. But if you choose to deliver at home, here in our state, the law prevents you from being assisted by a midwife. So you're basically on your own.

Read the full transcript and the story of one hospital that became the exception.

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Tackling Teen Pregnancy


Located in the north-central part of the state, Okanogan is Washington’s most rural county; it’s very large and, for the most part, fairly poor. Twenty percent of the county’s inhabitants live below the federal poverty line, and the median household income for the county — $36,877 in 2014 — is the second-lowest in the state. The county ranks last in the state for quality of life.   At 58.5 pregnancies per 1,000 girls aged 15–19, it has nearly twice the state’s average teen pregnancy rate.

The social services organization Room One, housed in a little wooden bungalow on the edge of Twisp, is facing the challenge of teen pregnancy head-on. Any woman of reproductive age can go to Room One’s family planning clinic to get exams, birth control, and counseling, but the organization was founded in 1998 specifically to address high rates of teen pregnancy in the region. “Historically, getting access to services or building support services has been tough in a community like ours,” says Elana Mainer, executive director of Room One.

Read the full article.

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Nurse Autonomy

By Sabrina Tavernise - New York Times

There are just a handful of psychiatrists in all of western Nebraska, a vast expanse of farmland and cattle ranches. So when Murlene Osburn, a cattle rancher turned psychiatric nurse, finished her graduate degree, she thought starting a practice in this tiny village of tumbleweeds and farm equipment dealerships would be easy.

It wasn’t. A state law required nurses like her to get a doctor to sign off before they performed the tasks for which they were nationally certified. But the only willing psychiatrist she could find was seven hours away by car and wanted to charge her $500 a month. Discouraged, she set the idea for a practice aside and returned to work on her ranch.

But in March the rules changed: Nebraska became the 20th state to adopt a law that makes it possible for nurses in a variety of medical fields with most advanced degrees to practice without a doctor’s oversight. Maryland’s governor signed a similar bill into law this month, and eight more states are considering such legislation, according to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.

Read the full article.

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Mark Your Calendar

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

June 23: Telehealth Reimbursement Policies - webinar
June 24: What Research Infrastructure Do We Need to Reduce Suicidal Behavior - webinar
July 15-17: Rural Quality & Clinical Conference - Minneapolis, MN
July 20: Effective Business Models for Telehealth - webinar
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

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Rural Hospitals  
This guide has been updated with new FAQs. Visit the guide to learn about the characteristics of the different rural hospital designations, challenges they face, available funding, and more. 

Small Rural Hospital Transition (SRHT) Project
To assist small hospitals in persistent poverty areas to successfully navigate this changing environment. The SRHT Project is designed to prepare and assist rural facilities in moving from fee-for-service and volume based payment system to one that is dependent on value and quality. 

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Funding Opportunities

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

Adiuvans Relief Fund
The Adiuvans Relief Fund is dedicated to supporting 501(c)(3) public charities that address the needs of those most challenged in our community.  The Relief Fund is focused specifically on the issues of: food, shelter, and health care. The Relief Fund only considers organizations serving residents in one or more of the following Virginia counties: Albemarle, Greene, Orange, Louisa, Fluvanna, Buckingham, Nelson, Rockingham, and Augusta.
All submissions must be received by 5 PM on Friday, May 22nd

CATCH Planning, Implementation, and Resident Grants 
Up to $10,000 will be awarded on a competitive basis to individual pediatricians and fellowship trainees to plan innovative community-based child health initiatives that will ensure all children have medical homes, are properly immunized, and have access to health care services not otherwise available in their community. 
Informational webinar: July 6, 2015
Deadline: July 31, 2015 

Evidence for Action
Seeks to support rigorous, high-impact, creative research projects to build and disseminate information for evidence-based approaches to building a Culture of Health. The program will also support efforts to assess outcomes and set priorities for action by encouraging and supporting creative, rigorous research on the impact of innovative programs, policies and partnerships on health and well-being, and on novel approaches to measuring health determinants and outcomes.

The Bama Works Fund of Dave Matthews Band
Supports Charlottesville area nonprofit organizations, with a focus on disadvantaged youth, people living with disabilities, protection of the environment, and the arts and humanities. Charlottesville area nonprofit organizations and activities can apply by August 1, 2015. Grant applications from beyond the Charlottesville area are accepted by invitation only.

Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving: Rosalynn Carter Leadership in Caregiving Award
The Rosalynn Carter Leadership in Caregiving Award recognizes leadership in implementing innovative partnerships between community agencies and caregiving researchers that bridge the gap between science and practice.

Funders' Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities: Partners for Places
Partners for Places, an initiative of the Funders' Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities, is a matching grant program that creates opportunities for cities and counties in the United States and Canada to improve communities by building partnerships between local government sustainability offices and place-based foundations. Through the program, funders invest in local projects to promote a healthy environment, a strong economy, and well-being of all residents. For Round Seven, grants will range between $25,000 and $75,000 for one-year projects, or $50,000 and $150,000 for two-year projects, with a 1:1 match required by one or more local foundations. The proposal must be submitted by a team of at least two partners consisting of the sustainability director of a city or a county, and the local, place-based foundation(s). The application deadline is July 27, 2015.

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation: Acres for America
Acres for America, a partnership between Walmart Stores, Inc. and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, supports efforts to conserve lands of national significance, protect critical fish and wildlife habitat, and benefit people and local economies. Preference will be given to projects that achieve more than one of the following program priorities: conserve critical habitats for birds, fish, plants, and wildlife; connect existing protected lands to unify wild places and protect critical migration routes; provide access for people to enjoy the outdoors; and ensure the future of local economies that depend on forestry, ranching, and recreation. All grant awards require a minimum 1:1 match of cash or contributed goods and services. Nonprofit organizations, state and local government agencies, Indian tribes, and educational institutions are eligible to apply. Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the Regional Office Director in their area to discuss project ideas prior to applying. Pre-proposals are due July 23, 2015; invited full proposals must be submitted by September 17, 2015.

Department of Commerce
The Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization Initiative is offering funding to assist communities and workers negatively impacted by changes in the coal industry and power sector. This initiative supports projects that reach across economic and workforce development systems and focus on local solutions that implement existing economic development strategic plans. The application deadline is July 10, 2015.

Walmart Foundation State Giving Program (Region 1)
Geographic Coverage: Available in 19 states and Puerto Rico (includes Virginia)
Application deadline: Jul 17, 2015
Provides grants to organizations working in the area of hunger and nutrition; career opportunity; education; health care access; and human services.

Smoke/Tobacco-Free Community College Campus Grants
Application deadline: Aug 6, 2015
Provides funding to public community and tribal colleges to support efforts to advocate for, adopt, and implement a 100% smoke-free or 100% tobacco-free policy.

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Virginia Rural Health Association
2265 Kraft Drive
Blacksburg, VA 24060

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