VRHA Weekly Update
In this Issue November 7, 2016

VRHA News Virginia News National News Mark your calendar
Funding Opportunities


Fall Newsletter





Members in the News

From Berea College Magazine

Living out the Eighth Great Commitment, which charges us “To serve the Appalachian region primarily through education but also by other appropriate services,” is one of many factors that led the College to build the Margaret A. Cargill Natural Sciences and Health Building. Once completed, the facility will improve science education and, over time, increase the number of graduates who return to the region as healthcare professionals, something the region needs for many reasons. Appalachian communities continue to struggle with cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke at rates well above the national average, according to the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC).

Why these differencesbook-photos-004 persist, and how to address them, has been the focus of intensive study over the last 50 years. To better understand the current situation in the region, I visited with Dr. Wendy Welch, an ethnographer who runs the Graduate Medical Education Consortium (GMEC) at the University of Virginia-Wise. She is also the editor of a collection of scholarly essays, Public Health in Appalachia: Essays from the Clinic and the Field, but is probably best known as the author of The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap: A Memoir of Friendship, Community, and the Uncommon Pleasure of a Good Book.

Read the interview transcript.

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More Members in the News

From the Augusta Free Press

When the UVA Telemedicine division was building a pilot program to help deliver healthcare services to communities in rural Virginia, autism needed to be on the agenda.

“When you talk to rural school systems and ask them to identify their key challenges, one of the first things they say is ‘autism,’” said [VRHA member] David Gordon, Director of Telemedicine for the UVA Health System. “Teachers need support and families need support.”

Read the full article.

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Take the Survey

On October 18th, VRHA hosted a kick-off meeting for the Virginia Rural Health Telecommunications Consortium.  VRHTC will be working with rural providers to help them receive discounts on their telecommunications services through the FCC/USAC Healthcare Connect Fund.

​Now we are asking all hospitals, FQHC, RHC, other clinics, SNFs, CSBs, and Schools of Nursing to complete the eligibility form so we can determine needs and gage interest in the consortium.

We encourage you to complete the survey even if you do not think you will join the consortium as VRHA will also use this information to compile a report for the Secretary of Technology.

Take the Survey!

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Virginia News

Lee County Hospital

By Kevin Castle - WCYB

Residents in Lee County are a few steps closer to having a full-time medical facility open once again. [VRHA member] Lee County Hospital Authority Vice-Chair Ronnie Montgomery said the group has signed a 60-day letter-of-intent with Americore Health, LLC, a Florida-based firm, to manage the hospital once it reopens. Montgomery said they plan to work out details with Americore in the coming months with initial plans to open the facility's emergency room and then apply for licensure to become a critical access hospital.

Read the full article and a related article from the Roanoke Times.

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Treating Addiction

From Kaiser Health News

An older, unemployed man with chronic back pain recently visited Dr. Robert Devereaux, a family physician in this Southwest corner of Virginia. Devereaux recalled that months earlier, during a routine exam, he found crushed fragments of painkiller pills inside the patient's nose. Though he refused to prescribe more, Devereaux worries that the man is still getting the drugs and has not recognized his problem or gotten treatment for his addiction. 

But some health professionals as well as the federal government think they may have a possible solution: using telemedicine to connect patients in need by video chat with faraway physicians who know how to treat addiction.

It's part of a larger project to fight the opioid epidemic in hard-hit rural areas such as Appalachia. This summer, the federal government directed $1.4 million to five pilot projects located in southwest Virginia as well as Tennessee and Kentucky. One will be run by Carilion Clinic, the health system that operates Devereaux's practice, along with other local hospitals and medical practices. 

Read the full article.

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School of Health Sciences

By Linda Burchette - SWVA Today

If Dr. Henderson P. Graham was looking down from heaven Friday he would have seen his dream come true. Former Emory & Henry College President Rosalind Reichard said she could just see that twinkle in Graham’s eye as the Emory & Henry College School of Health Sciences was dedicated at the old Smyth County Community Hospital building in Marion.

“The dream began to take shape when Emory & Henry College took possession of and remodeled the former hospital’s medical education building to house its first ever doctoral level program in physical therapy there in 2015,” the plaque reads. “Soon thereafter, the former hospital itself began a multi-million dollar transformation into this state-of-the-art health science education campus.”

The college has estimated that its department of physical therapy will bring $11.5 million into the region and that the School of Health Sciences will create at least 36 new jobs, with an average salary of $80,000.

Read the full article.

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National News

Post Election Analysis: NEW DATE 

Please join the National Rural Health Association on Wednesday, November 9th at 2 pm, for a webinar providing an analysis of the election and what it means for rural America.

Webinar link: https://global.gotowebinar.com/join/6113349899528652291/773642846

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Opioid Addiction Treatment Reporting 

From the National Rural Health Association

The final Medication Assisted Treatment for Opioid Use Disorders Reporting Requirements rule requires practitioners who are authorized to treat up to 275 patients with covered medications in an office-based setting to provide information on their annual caseload of patients by month, the number of patients provided behavioral health services and referred to behavioral health services, and the features of the practitioner’s diversion control plan.

While NRHA supports increased access to medication-assisted opioid treatment in rural America, this rule doesn’t allow more providers in rural to be able to prescribe treatment, only the number of patients a single doctor can see. The rule took effect Oct. 27.

Read the final rule.

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Veteran Suicide

Suicide is a major problem for veterans all across the country. But the problem is even worse in rural areas, according to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA). On this week’s episode, veterans in West Virginia share their stories about what it’s like to return home from war, and what veterans are doing to help and support each other.

The number of veterans who die by suicide is staggering. A 2012 study from the VA found that 22 veterans commit suicide every day, though a new study by the VA says the rate is probably closer to 20 per day.

Read the full article.

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Why It's So Hard to Get Mental Healthcare

By Syrena Clark - Vice

I've lived in rural Maine my entire life, which has been both a blessing and a curse.  Main is miles of ramshackle houses, roads worsening each spring season, miles of woods, old mill towns, and abandoned buildings.  The sprawl of nothingness has a certain charm.  There's acres of quiet; space to breathe.

By the time I was diagnosed with schizophrenia, though, I had started to feel differently.  As chronic psychosis became part of my life, living in rural Maine became a major disadvantage.

Read the full article.

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Mark Your Calendar

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

November 9: Health System-wide Peer Program Opioid Crisis Best Practice - webinar
November 10: Virginia Oral Health Summit​ - Richmond
December 16: Dental Care Approaches for Adults with Disabilities - Wytheville
February 5-8: Rural Healthcare Leadership Conference - Phoenix, AZ
February 7-9: 28th NHRA Rural Health Policy Institute​ - Washington, DC

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National Rural Health Day is November 17, 2016
Do you have plans to Celebrate the Power of Rural? Visit the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health for ideas on how to honor those committed to improving the health of people in rural communities.

Broadband Planning Primer and Toolkit
Provides information, tools and resources on broadband technology and planning for the development of Internet service in the Appalachian region. Focuses on identifying the unserved demand for broadband, developing partnerships, and reducing barriers for broadband providers to develop technology in underserved areas. Priorities of this primer are to reduce isolation, support economic development, increase educational opportunities, improve healthcare including telehealth, and enhance community capacity within the region.

Medication-assisted treatment 
MAT includings opioid treatment programs (OTPs), combines behavioral therapy and medications to treat substance use disorders.  Extensive resources on this topic from SAMHSA.

CMS Medicare Learning Network enews:

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Funding Opportunities

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

Rural Health Network Development Planning Program
This announcement solicits applications for the Rural Health Network Development Planning Grant Program (“Network Planning”). The purpose of the Network Planning program is to assist in the development of an integrated health care network, specifically for entities that do not have a history of formal collaborative efforts.  Health care networks can be an effective strategy to help smaller rural health care providers and health care service organizations align resources and strategies, achieve economies of scale and efficiency, and address challenges more effectively as a group than as single providers.  The Network Planning program promotes the planning and development of healthcare networks in order to: (i) achieve efficiencies; (ii) expand access to, coordinate, and improve the quality of essential health care services; and (iii) strengthen the rural health care system as a whole.  The health care system is undergoing a significant amount of change and this can be particularly challenging for small rural providers.
Deadline: 01/03/2017

Community Food Projects Competitive Grant Program
Grants to plan or implement food projects designed to meet the needs of low-income individuals and increase community self-reliance concerning food and nutrition.
Application Deadline: Nov 30, 2016 

Nurse Anesthetist Traineeship Program (NAT)
Provides funding to accredited institutions to support traineeships for licensed nurses who are enrolled in a nurse anesthesia program, with preference given to projects that will benefit rural and underserved populations.
Application Deadline: Dec 5, 2016 

E3 — Effectiveness, Efficiency and Excellence in Healthcare
Supports projects that focus on medication safety across the continuum of care from the hospital to home/ambulatory settings, managing diabetes and/or multiple chronic diseases, engaging patients and their families in their care, and finding innovative ways to effect long-term change.
Application Deadline: Dec 9, 2016

HIV, HCV and Related Comorbidities in Rural Communities Affected by Opioid Injection Drug Epidemics in the United States: Building Systems for Prevention, Treatment and Control (UG3/UH3)
Funds to support two-stage research projects that inform community response and promote comprehensive, integrated approaches to prevent HIV and hepatitis C virus infection, along with associated comorbidities, such as hepatitis B virus infection and sexually transmitted diseases among people who inject drugs in rural communities.
Letter of Intent (Optional): Dec 10, 2016
Application Deadline: Jan 10, 2017 

ACT Health IT: Health Information Technology (HIT) Training for Healthcare Professionals
Online, no-cost Health Information Technology training courses for healthcare professionals that are designed to help prepare for the transition to value-driven care; enhance skills to work more efficiently; and build teams to improve care delivery, quality, and support.
Applications accepted on an ongoing basis.

Community Facilities Program
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $401 million for long-term, low-interest financing for essential community facilities in rural areas.  Public bodies, non-profit organizations and federally recognized American Indian Tribes can use the funds from any of the five programs to construct, expand or improve facilities that provide health care, education, public safety, and public services. Projects include fire and rescue stations, village and town halls, health care clinics, hospitals, adult and child care centers, assisted living facilities, rehabilitation centers, public buildings, schools, libraries, and many other community-based initiatives. Financing may also cover the costs for land acquisition, professional fees, and purchase of equipment. These facilities not only improve the basic quality of life, but assist in the development and sustainability of rural America.

Advanced Nursing Education Workforce (ANEW) Program  
Entities providing registered nurses with training that leads to master’s and/or doctoral degrees may be eligible to apply for the ANEW Program, which supports academic-practice partnerships to prepare advanced registered nursing students for primary care practice in rural and underserved areas.  Applicants can get technical assistance at a 90-minute webinar on Wednesday, November 9 at 2:00 pm ET.  Dial-in at 888-282-1744 ; passcode 6266489. 
 January 25, 2017


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