VRHA Weekly Update
In this Issue November 14, 2016

VRHA News Virginia News National News Mark your calendar
Funding Opportunities

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Celebrate the power of rural!




Members in the News

By Stacy Hairston - Franklin News Post

Carilion Clinic has broken ground on a new family practice location, near Lowe’s on Old Franklin Turnpike. Construction will begin shortly on the new facility, which will include 12 exam rooms, automatic doors, a covered patient pick-up and drop-off area, 60 parking spaces and well and sick patient waiting areas.

The current facility contains about 3,500-square-feet. The new facility will be nearly 10,000-square-feet, according to [VRHA member] Carilion Franklin Memorial Hospital Vice President Bill Jacobsen.

“Our goal is to meet our patient’s needs wherever they are,” Jacobsen said. “Convenience is key, which is why we’re so excited about this new location.”

Read the full article.

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More Members in the News

By Justin Ward - WDBJ7

People in Pulaski County are outspoken about the area's drug dilemma in their hometown.     But they're also vocal about how that problem is getting corrected and how people can get help.
Kim Curtis is brave. She tells her story of recovery and helps people who are going through the addiction she faced.
"It was a dental procedure I had done that was complicated and I was prescribed narcotics and before I knew it I was physically dependent," Curtis said.
Curtis got help and has been in recovery for 16 years. She's now a case manager for [VRHA member] New River Community Services and a facilitator for the agency's therapy group and upfront about the county's drug problem.

Read the full article and related article in the Southwest Times.

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Even More Members in the News

From the Rappahannock Record

Lancaster County Public Schools  (LCPS) recently announced [VRHA member] Jimmie Carter is the Volunteer of the Month for October. When the Division Wide Volunteer Tutoring Program began in the fall of 2014, Carter was one of the first volunteers to sign up, reported volunteer tutor coordinator Sandy Armstrong. His interest in the program and work with his student is a reflection of his willingness to give of his time and talents to support the youth of Lancaster County. 
Carter also is involved in community philanthropy.  He is the chairman of the LCPS school facilities committee, the Center for Innovation and Development and the Tangier Island Health Foundation. He is the division regional consultant to the Bon Secours Foundation and past board member of Rappahannock General Hospital. 
He serves on the board of directors for Bay Aging, the Regional EMS, the Virginia Rural Health Association and the advisory board for Chesapeake Bank. He also is a member of Lead Northern Neck.  

Read the full article.

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Virginia News

Opioid Abuse Strategy

From the Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General Mark R. Herring announced a series of initiatives to combat a recent rise in fatal overdoses of heroin and prescription opiates. Legislative, prosecutorial, and educational efforts will complement and build on the efforts of other state, local, and federal agencies to fight abuse of prescription drugs and heroin. During Attorney General Herring's public safety tour in March, the spike in abuse of and fatalities caused by heroin and prescription drugs was discussed at more than 75% of the tour's 22 meetings. Herring announced his five-part action plan during remarks at the annual conference of the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police in Roanoke.

"Far too many Virginians are losing loved ones to prescription drug abuse and the resurgence of cheap, potent heroin," said Attorney General Herring. "There's no silver bullet to this spike in opiate abuse and fatalities, but we've identified things we can do right away to help turn the tide, and hopefully save lives. To effectively address this problem we'll need a state, local, and federal commitment to prevention and education, treatment, enforcement, and prosecution. I'm eager to work with our public safety partners to get this poison off the streets."

The heroin and prescription drug problem is not isolated to any particular part of the state and it will require a range of strategies. Attorney General Herring's efforts will complement and enhance those of local and federal prosecutors who are working to hold drug dealers accountable.

Read the full press release.

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Children's Health

By Dan Heyman - Public News Service 

A higher percentage of U.S. children have health insurance coverage than ever before, according to a study by the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families.  The number in Virginia also is better.  The Georgetown study shows the number of uninsured children in Virginia fell by 10 percent.
 Jill Hanken, an attorney with the Virginia Poverty Law Center, says there are still far too many children without coverage in the state, but the most recent numbers show a rapid improvement.
 "The last two years, between 2013 and 2015, the number of uninsured children has gone down by 10,000, which is great," she points out.

Read the full article.

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Fighting Cancer

By Erica Fitzgerald - Daily Rx News

Though their ancestors were pioneers, coal miners and soldiers, the residents of rural Appalachia are some of the most impoverished, unhealthy and neglected people in the US. New research illuminates the major health disparities. 

According to a press release issued by the University of Virginia Health System, researchers from the University of Virginia’s School of Medicine said that rural Appalachia is experiencing a full-blown cancer crisis. In the last four decades it’s gone from having the lowest cancer death rate in the US to the highest.

"They don't use a lot of healthcare,” Dr. Yao said in the press release. “It means they don't spend a lot of CMS [Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] money, and if you don't spend, you won't be considered high-cost patients. If you're not high-cost patients, it is hard to draw attention from policymakers and payers."

Read the full article.

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National News

Hospital Quality 

By Virgil Dickson - Modern Healthcare

Rural hospitals on average have done better at avoiding the spread of hospital-acquired conditions and have scored higher in Medicare's value-based purchasing program than their urban counterparts.
Last year only 288, or 34% of rural hospitals participating in the hospital value-based purchasing program, faced financial penalties compared to 1,040 or 49% of urban hospitals.  
Under the program, acute-care hospitals are rewarded or penalized depending on the quality of care.
Similarly rural hospitals performed well under the hospital-acquired-condition reduction program that aims to prevent conditions like pressure sores and hip fractures after surgery.

Read the full article.

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Behavioral Health Supply

By Tim Marema - Daily Yonder

More rural Americans have medical insurance that covers mental-health services, but that increase may be tempered by a lack of professionals who provide those services, a new report says.
Researchers have previously documented a disparity in the number of psychiatrists who serve nonmetropolitan counties. But the shortage extends to other metal-health professionals such as social workers, counselors, and psychologists, according to a brief from the Rural Health Research Center and the Rural Health Research & Policy Centers.
“Accurate estimates of the number of rural psychiatrists and other behavioral health providers are especially important now, when an increasing number of rural residents are insured for behavioral health care and demand is growing,” the report said, citing a journal article in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine.

Read the full article.

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Rural VA Boost

By Susan Morse - Healthcare Finance

The Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Rural Health will give out $215 million in grants to 138 VA medical centers, according to the Department of Agriculture. The money will also support about 800 rural providers as it helps 570,000 rural veterans get access to healthcare services.
The  grants will support the creation of programs enhancing primary care, mental health care, specialty care and other services in VA clinics where these were not previously available.  Meanwhile, the Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration is investing $36 million in health information technology for rural providers.

Read the full article.

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Training for Emergencies


Students of the University of Illinois School of Medicine at Rockford are learning how to respond to emergency medical situations in rural communities.
Serious and even fatal accidents on farms are a more common problem than many people realize, and medical professionals often lack the training they need in order to properly respond to them. Organizations like Stateline Farm Rescue are using simulations as a training technique for these emergencies.

Read the full article.

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Mark Your Calendar

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

November 15:Understanding the Effect of MACRA - webinar
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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Generic Fill Support
Many medications previously available for free through Patient Assistance Programs have gone off patent and are now only available as generic products that can vary in price. Recognizing the challenges Generic Fill Support (GFS) will expand the reach and impact of RxP’s core mission —increasing access to medication for vulnerable populations. GFS will support the generic medication needs of facilities that don’t have the capacity to access generics on their own.

MATx App

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) announced the upcoming launch of MATx, a free mobile app that will provide health care practitioners with immediate access to vital information about medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorder.

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Funding Opportunities

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

Phyllis and Milton Berg Family Respite Care Grant
Funding to help alleviate the cost of respite care for families caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia.
Application Deadline: Dec 1, 2016 

Service Area Competition Funding for Health Center Program (Areas Served with a Project Period Start Date of June 1, 2017)
Funding to provide comprehensive primary healthcare services to an underserved area or population.
Application Deadline: Dec 12, 2016 

Improving the Treatment of Opioid Use Disorders
Grants for evaluating addiction treatment programs and strategies for people with opioid use disorders. Projects may be focused on evaluating existing treatment programs, testing new approaches to treatment, and/or re-orienting government spending around programs that demonstrate measurable results.
Application Deadline: Dec 15, 2016 

USDA Community Facilities Direct Loan and Grant Program
Direct USDA loans and/or grants to construct, enlarge, or improve essential community facilities for healthcare, public safety, education, and public services in rural areas.
Applications accepted on an ongoing basis

USDA Community Facilities Guaranteed Loan Program
Loans from eligible private lenders, guaranteed by USDA, to help build essential community facilities in rural areas.
Applications accepted on an ongoing basis 

Healthy Smiles, Healthy Children Access to Care Grants
Offers matching grants to support community-based initiatives that provide dental homes to children whose families cannot afford dental care.
Application Deadline: Dec 15, 2016 

Healthy Smiles, Healthy Children Access to Care Grants
Offers matching grants to support community-based initiatives that provide dental homes to children whose families cannot afford dental care.
Application Deadline: Dec 15, 2016 

Advanced Nursing Education Workforce (ANEW) Program
Grants to support innovative academic-practice partnerships to prepare primary care advanced practice registered nursing students to practice in rural and underserved settings through academic and clinical training.
Application Deadline: Jan 25, 2017 

Saucony Run for Good Foundation
The Saucony Run for Good Foundation is committed to improving the lives of children by helping to prevent and reduce childhood obesity. Grants of up to $10,000 are provided to nonprofit community organizations that initiate and support running programs for youth. Program participants must be 18 years of age or younger. Priority will be given to programs that serve youth populations not traditionally exposed to running programs. Grant requests are reviewed two times per year; the next application deadline is December 15, 2016. 

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