Virginia Rural Health Association - Weekly Update
VRHA Weekly Update
In this Issue August 31, 2015

VRHA News Virginia News National News Mark your calendar
Funding Opportunities


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Deadline Approaching!

Conference Scholarships
VRHA has funds available to assist students who wish to attend the VRHA 2015 Annual Conference.  Any full-time student studying a health-related profession may apply. Funds will cover conference registration fees.

Completed forms must be e-mailed to on or before September 4th.  Winners will be announced on September 11th.

Download the application form.

Click the conference logo to the right for event details.

GIF logo
VRHA Annual Conference
October 13 & 14
Staunton, VA

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Virginia News

Perks for Closing the Gap

By Jill Hanken - Daily Progress

Many states with new coverage have seen large economic benefits from closing their coverage gaps. An independent analysis in Kentucky estimated the program would have “a significant positive cumulative impact of $30.1 billion on Kentucky’s economy through SFY 2021”.

This comes from many factors, including less state funding needed for hospital indigent care and other state-financed health programs, along with new jobs, tax revenues and economic development from the influx of new funding. This positive financial impact will help the state pay its relatively small share of costs after 2016.

Virginia can learn from other states’ experiences to carefully refine its estimates of enrollment, costs and savings. Closing the coverage gap sooner, while 100 percent federal funding is available, will also jump-start the economic benefits and state savings.

Read the full editorial.

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20 Years of Rural Healthcare

By Wayne Quesenberry - SWVA Today

A permanent location, full-time staff, increase in patient load and community acceptance are among the major changes experienced by the Brock Hughes Free Clinic during its 20 years of service to the residents of Wythe and Bland counties.

“I knew the need was here,” said Tamara Tolliver, the clinic’s executive director. “But I never thought the clinic would grow like it has. It has been amazing and rewarding to see how so many needs have been met.”

Established in 1995, the free clinic was formed by nurses from Wythe County Community Hospital to meet the health care needs of the uninsured, low-income residents of Wythe and Bland counties. It was named in honor of the late Dr. C. Brock Hughes, a longtime Wytheville pediatrician and highly admired member of the local medical community.

Read the full article.

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Coordinating Care

From AMD Global Medicine

AMD Global Telemedicine Inc. (AMD), the pioneer of clinical Telemedicine Encounter Management Solutions (TEMS)™ helps universities cultivate collaborative healthcare practices for academic learning. Texas Woman’s University and Old Dominion University use AMD’s clinical telemedicine systems to set the precedent of achieving coordinated care through an interprofessional approach and telehealth technology.

The AMD Global Telemedicine equipment and software were chosen to be part of these interprofessional learning programs to demonstrate telemedicine as an integral tool in clinical practice. Teams of undergraduates, graduates and doctorates are being trained how to use clinical telemedicine equipment and ways to leverage the technology for collaborative patient care. These telemedicine courses emphasize the importance of telemedicine in today’s healthcare environments and coincide with the universities’ goals to meet rural health and underserved population initiatives from an interprofessional perspective.

Read the full article.

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National News

Increasing Access

By Sara Heath - RevCycle Intellegence

New legislation may be able to alleviate the healthcare and Medicare costs that have for so long caused issues regarding access to care in rural areas. Skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) may see an increase in funding thanks to a proposed bill from Senator Bill Thune of South Dakota, according to an August 2 press release. This bill – the Rural Health Care Connectivity Act of 2015 – will allow SNFs to provide quality and innovative care in rural areas. 

In rural communities where the nearest hospital may be thirty minutes away, receiving timely healthcare is not so simple. Not only is geography a major barrier, but so is expense. Many rural healthcare providers face considerable problems with regard to Medicare reimbursements, putting these hospitals in financial trouble and often causing them to close down.

Read the full article.

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Skipping Lunch

By Tim Marema - Daily Yonder

Rural households are less likely than urban ones to participate in the free-lunch program for school-aged children, even though they qualify for the federal nutrition program at about the same rate as urban households do. About 63 percent of rural households that qualify for the nutrition assistance take advantage of it, according to the study by Jessica Carson at the University of New Hampshire Carsey School of Public Policy. In cities, 71 percent of eligible households participated.

Urban and rural households qualify for the program at roughly the same rate – between 42 and 43 percent of households with children. In suburban areas, about 28 percent of households with children meet the income requirements. Although the study did not include analysis of why families chose not to participate, Carson said the variance may relate to differences in how families perceive these programs in cities, suburbs, and rural areas.

Read the full article.

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Focus on Residencies

Last year, 369 students graduated from Iowa medical schools, but at least 131 of them had to finish their training elsewhere because Iowa had only 238 residency positions available. The story was the same for at least 186 students who graduated from Missouri medical schools and 200 who studied at Tennessee schools. States such as New York, California, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania were happy to take them—all four states took in more residents than students they trained. 

This is the world of medical resident matching. When states don’t have enough residency positions for the medical students they’ve trained, they become resident exporters. When states have more residency positions than they have students to fill them, they become importers.

So while some states spend tens or hundreds of millions of dollars to support medical schools and build new ones, a handful are recognizing that it’s just as important to invest in residency programs—to increase the number of doctors practicing within their borders.

Read the full article.

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Training in Rural 

From the Kearny Hub

An army of Nebraskans have turned an idea into a reality, and now the eyes of the nation’s health care community are on Kearney, Nebraska, and, more precisely, the Health Science Education Complex that opens here in one week. If the HSEC can do as its designers and supporters intend, the facility will carve away the shortages of health care professionals in rural Nebraska.

The HSEC was conceived on the notion that by educating medical students in a rural setting, more of them would conduct their medical careers in rural settings. The idea sprang from the realization that too many future health care professionals were leaving farms and small towns to be educated and trained in big cities — and they were staying in the city after graduating.

Fortunately, visionary legislators, donors, educational leaders and teaching staffs at both the University of Nebraska Medical Center and University of Nebraska at Kearney got behind the idea of building a state-of-the-art training facility in Kearney so that professionals can be trained in a rural area and, with any luck, practice in the rural communities that are a vital part of our agricultural state.

Read the full article.

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Mark Your Calendar

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

September 8-10: National Rural Assembly - Washington, DC
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
December 3: TCI Policy Summit

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Rural Health Fellows Program
Application deadline: Aug 31, 2015
A year-long, intensive program designed to develop a community of rural health leaders.

CMS Medicare Learning Network e-news:

See Well for a Lifetime Toolkit
For anyone who works with older adults in community-based settings to convey science-based, easy-to-understand information about eye health, age-related eye diseases and conditions, comprehensive dilated eye exams and how people can protect their sight as they age. The Toolkit comprises three modules that can be used for individual educational sessions or build on each other as a series. Each contains a PowerPoint presentation, a Speaker's Guide, participant handouts, a promotional announcement, and participant evaluation forms

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Funding Opportunities

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

Russell Sage Foundation 
Deadline: 9/14/15
Grants for schools and nonprofit organizations for environmental service-learning projects designed to help students make their schools more green and healthy.

A Little Hope
Deadline: Ongoing
Funding for organizations that provide bereavement support services and grief counseling to children and teens.

Community HealthCorps
Application deadline: Applications accepted on an ongoing basis.
Offers monetary sums for education or loan repayment in exchange for full-time service in a rural or underserved community. Community HealthCorps Members perform a variety of activities associated with health services and programs for patients and communities, often by functioning as community health workers.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: Culture of Health Prize
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Prize honors outstanding community efforts and partnerships across the United States that are helping people live healthier lives. Up to ten winning communities will each receive a $25,000 cash prize and have their success stories celebrated and shared broadly with the goal of raising awareness and inspiring locally-driven change across the country. For the purposes of this prize, "a community" is defined as one of the following: town/village, city, county, tribe or tribal community, Native Hawaiian organization, or region (such as contiguous towns, cities, or counties). The Phase 1 application deadline is November 12, 2015. 

Future of Nursing Scholars
Deadline: September 17
The goal of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Future of Nursing Scholars program 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. For the 2016 cohort, the program will support up to 75 Scholars across the selected schools. 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).

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