Virginia Rural Health Association - Weekly Update
VRHA Weekly Update
In this Issue October 13, 2014

VRHA News Virginia News National News Mark your calendar
Funding Opportunities


Join Us in Celebrating National Rural Health Day on November 20, 2014!
National Rural Health Day (NRHD) is an initiative started by the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health as an opportunity to “Celebrate the Power of Rural” by honoring the selfless, community-minded, “can-do” spirit that prevails in rural America. The day also offers the chance to bring to light the unique health care challenges facing rural citizens. 

In celebration, Virginia’s Office of Rural Health would like to showcase the great work being done in Virginia’s rural communities! Send your rural photos, video footage, or community success stories for inclusion on our state NRHD webpage! All submissions can be sent to Sarahbeth Jones, Health Equity Communications Specialist, Virginia Department of Health, Office of Minority Health and Health Equity 





Population Health Management


Make sure you check out the "Designing a Framework for Population Health Management" session at the VRHA Annual Conference!  Led by Susan Triggs, VDH Office of Minority Health and Health Equity, this session will show how the Virginia State Rural Health Plan is a population health management tool for Virginia rural communities whereby communities are able to adapt VSRHP to health needs in their community. Fundamentals of population health management will be reviewed, connecting key concepts beyond managing individual behavior to improving health outcomes for the larger community. Attendees will understand:

  • the benefit of using a population health management
  • the process for moving the needle of the community’s perspective on health outcomes to a shared objective across sectors
  • how to talk to stakeholders about population health management
  • how to make the VSRHP a dynamic process in their community

Click the conference logo for more information about this event.

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Student Scholarships

VRHA has funds available to assist students who wish to attend the VRHA 2014 Annual Conference.  Any full-time student studying a health related profession may apply. Funds will cover conference registration fees and two nights at the conference hotel.

Download the scholarship application form.

Completed forms must be e-mailed to on or before October 31st.  Winners will be announced on November 7th.

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Members in the News 

By Crisfield-Somerset County Times

The Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore’s Mission of Mercy Fund received $10,000 from [VRHA member] DentaQuest to support the operational needs of the Eastern Shore’s second Mission of Mercy dental clinic scheduled to be held April 17-18, 2015 at the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center in Salisbury.

“Mission of Mercy” (MOM) projects are conducted across the country to bring quality dental care to underserved populations. MOM Projects consist of over 100 volunteer dental professionals and several hundred volunteer staff who coordinate two-day dental clinics at locations around the country.

Read the full article.

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Virginia News

No Dental School


Bluefield College has ended its efforts to develop a dental school for southwest Virginia. Following a meeting of the Executive Committee of the BC Board of Trustees, the college announced, Tuesday, October 7, it has ceased operations for the dental school and ended its partnership with Tazewell County to develop the dental care project.

Citing as its primary reason the lack of support from the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission for funding requests, the college decided it was time to move on to other key initiatives.

“Given the obstacles we have faced in obtaining the financial commitment needed for the project's success, we determined it was best for Bluefield College to cease its activities to create a dental school in order to pursue other strategic initiatives,” said Dr. David Bailey, chair of the Board of Trustees. “We wish Tazewell County well as it explores other options to bring a dental school to this region.”

Read the full article.

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Substance Abuse Task Force

From the Office of the Governor

Governor Terry McAuliffe today signed Executive Order 29 establishing the Governor’s Task Force on Prescription Drug and Heroin Abuse.  The task force will recommend immediate steps to address a growing and dangerous epidemic of prescription opioid and heroin abuse in the Commonwealth.  The order asks the task force to suggest strategies that will raise public awareness about the dangers of misuse and abuse of prescription drugs, train health care providers on best practices for pain management, identify treatment options and alternatives to incarceration for people with addiction, and promote the safe storage and disposal of prescription drugs. 

The task force will also seek to expand use of the rescue drug, naloxone, which has been shown to prevent death from overdose, and leverage the Prescription Monitoring Program to reduce abuse of prescription drugs.  Overall, through these efforts, the task force will seek a measurable reduction in deaths from prescription drug and heroin abuse.

Read the full press release.

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Close to Home

By Sam Stockard - Ledger

Four rural hospitals have closed and dozens are at risk of shuttering: That’s the fallout, some say, from Gov. Bill Haslam’s decision not to join the Affordable Care Act in 2013 and tap into millions in promised federal funds for Tennessee’s financially-strapped health care institutions.

Of some 125 hospitals statewide, three facilities closed in West Tennessee since the governor rejected conventional Medicaid expansion – Haywood Park Community Hospital in Brownsville, Camden General and Gibson General. Another in Scott County in East Tennessee shut down, before reopening, according to Tennessee Hospital Association Executive Director Craig Becker.

Hospitals are “stressed to the max” financially, Becker says, noting “there’s a marked difference” between the financial situation for Tennessee hospitals and those in states that accepted federal Medicaid expansion.

Read the full article.

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National News

Costs for Rural Patients

By Brock Slabach - National Rural Health Association

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of Health and Human Services released a report on the calculation of patient coinsurance amounts between critical access hospitals (CAH) and PPS hospitals.

First, some background: CAHs receive cost-based reimbursement for inpatient acute, swing-bed and outpatient services delivered to Medicare beneficiaries. Medicare patients at CAHs owe coinsurance on outpatient services on the basis of 20 percent of applicable Part B charges.

Under the outpatient prospective payment system (OPPS), the coinsurance is based on 20 percent of the OPPS price under the fee schedule for ambulatory patient classification (APC) units. Because the fee schedule is generally much lower than charges, an unintended consequence of cost-based reimbursement is that beneficiaries receiving care at a CAH have a higher coinsurance burden than those going to PPS hospitals.

Click here for the National Rural Health Association’s response to the report.


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Filling the Pharmacy Gap

By Eileen Oldfield - Pharmacy Times

Digital health care company TelePharm has received $2.5 million in funding from Iowa investors to bring remote pharmacy services to patients across the state’s rural communities.
According to a press release from the company, the funds will be used to expand personnel, scale operations, and launch 2 new products, TeleCounsel and TeleCheck. The company intends to use a proprietary online platform to allow centrally located pharmacists to provide offsite services. The services may also extend to physician offices, long-term care facilities, or patient’s homes, the release said.
“The idea for the company came after my family had to close 2 rural Iowa pharmacies,” TelePharm founder and CEO Roby Miller said in the release. “This funding will strengthen our position in the industry and allow us to continue making our product more efficient and effective for both patients and health care providers.”

Read the full article.

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Hidden Rural Poverty

By Marian Wright Edelman - Huffington Post

When many people hear child poverty in America, the first stereotype is an inner-city child and discussions about solutions to poverty often focus on concentrated poverty in urban areas. But in a nation where over 16 million children, more than one in five, are poor, the plain truth is that child poverty is pervasive and affects children everywhere although we know it affects urban, suburban, and rural children in some ways differently. The Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio (CDF-Ohio)’s new report “Health Disparities Are Leaving Ohio’s Rural Children Behind” shares findings often true for poor rural American children. As they say about Ohio’s 190,000 poor rural children: “These children go to bed hungry. Many of them live miles from the closest pediatrician, children’s hospital, and other services. They need help — and it is a different kind of help than what may be needed for children in Ohio’s cities.”

Poor access to health care is a second piece of the rural health disparities puzzle. Put simply, poor children in rural Ohio have more trouble than children in other parts of the state finding doctors to care for them.  CDF-Ohio found this is part of a national trend: Regions with a low supply of pediatricians are disproportionately rural and tend to be poorer than high-supply regions. Nearly 1 million rural children live in areas with no local pediatrician. This shortage of general pediatricians and family doctors serving children in rural areas is compounded by a lack of access to pediatric subspecialists. In the United States, there are approximately 28,000 pediatric medical subspecialists and surgical specialists to care for over 80 million children. Finding a dentist is a huge challenge too.

Read the full article.

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1,916 Square Miles and No Psychiatrist

By Natasha Haverty - North Country Public Radio

New York State is one year into a major overhaul of its mental health care system. Just as the state system is changing, Medicaid coverage is expanding, giving more people the opportunity to seek professional help. But what if there’s no one to give them that care? We’ve reported before on how recruiting health care providers in a rural area like ours is particularly challenging.

For the past nine months, Essex County has been without a psychiatrist. That means no doctor who’s able to officially diagnose behavioral and mental health issues and no one to prescribe psychotropic medications. There is one nurse practitioner who’s been working two days a week instead of her usual one day a week, but that covers only a small part of that gap and falls far from meeting demand.

Alana Knudson heads up research at the Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis in Chicago. She said what’s going on in Essex County is a common story. "I know the challenges firsthand of trying to recruit rural health specialists into rural communities, sometimes it takes a significant amount of time, and you certainly want to get the right person, someone who has an understanding of that rural environment, particularly when you’re looking for that kind of leadership."

Read the full article.

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Mark Your Calendar

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

October 17 - 18: Dental Care Approaches for Adults with Disabilities - Chesapeake
October 17-18: VTAction Community/Grassroots Organizer Training - Blacksburg
October 29: Strategic Planning That Leaves You Smiling - webinar
October 29-30: Strengthening Local Food Systems in Appalachia - Abingdon
November 5: Transitioning to ICD-10 - webinar
November 14: Virginia Oral Health Summit - Richmond
December 11 & 12: Virginia Rural Health Association Annual Conference - Staunton

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Geographic Variation in Plan Uptake in the Federally Facilitated Marketplace
Combines the recently released data on plan selection in the Federally Facilitated Marketplaces with estimates of the population likely to qualify for the marketplace (i.e. “eligibles”) to calculate the percent of potential eligible individuals who chose a health insurance plan (the “uptake rate”). Contains a heat map that shows variation in uptake rates across the country.

Geographic Variation in Premiums in Health Insurance Marketplaces
Analyzes the 2014 premiums of the health insurance plans provided through the exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act. Results found the insurance ratings for areas with smaller populations had higher premiums.

Role of Hospitals in Medical Home Initiatives and Strategies to Secure their Support and Participation
Discusses the spread of the Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) initiative and the associated pressure and challenges with adaption of the new payment and delivery system for hospitals. This brief makes the case for the new approach, clarifies the hospitals' role in a PCMH and offers strategies to successfully secure hospitals' support and participation. It specifically recognizes the unique considerations for small/rural and Critical Access Hospitals when securing support and participation in medical home initiatives.

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Funding Opportunities

Initiative for Effective Nonprofits
DEADLINE: Friday, November 21 at 3pm
​The purpose of the Initiative for Effective Nonprofits is to strengthen the relationships, governance and management of nonprofit organizations so that the organizations will be more effective in developing, implementing and sustaining strategies, systems and programs to meet important needs within the community. 
The Initiative awards grants up to $10,000 for a collaborative application from more than one organization and a grant up to $4,000 for a single organization. The Initiative is a collaborative effort of community organizations, foundations and individuals within the Thomas Jefferson Planning District which includes Charlottesville and the Counties of Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, and Nelson.

Washington Gas
Deadline: Ongoing
Funding to organizations that focus on either educational activities targeted toward youths, programs that promote cleaner air and water and aim to protect and preserve the ecological system of the metropolican region, or health organizations that strive to improve the health and well-being of individuals within the community. 

USDA Rural Child Poverty Nutrition Center Cooperative Agreement
Letter of Intent (Optional): Oct 20, 2014
Application deadline: Dec 1, 2014
Will award funds to establish a national center dedicated to reducing child food insecurity in persistently poor rural counties.

Gannett Foundation Community Action Grants
Geographic Coverage: In Virginia - Staunton and Northern Virginia
Application deadline: Feb 28, 2015
Supports local organizations with funding priority given to programs that focus on education and neighborhood improvement, economic development, youth development, community problem-solving, assistance to disadvantaged people, environmental conservation, and cultural enrichment.

Department of Health and Human Services
The National Drug Abuse Treatment Clinical Trials Network program offers funding to develop and test interventions for the management of substance use disorders. The program is looking to create treatment programs and interventions through this funding opportunity. The deadline for submitting an optional letter of intent is November 3, 2014. The application deadline is December 3, 2014.

Rural Health Care Services Outreach Grant Program
Deadline: November 14, 2014; Award ceiling: $200,000 per year
Rural Health Care Services Outreach Grant Program supports projects that demonstrate effective and collaborative models of outreach and service delivery in rural communities. 

Hearst Foundation Grants
Applications accepted on an ongoing basis.
The Hearst Foundations provides funding to support large-scale health initiatives.  

Pfizer, Inc.: Special Events Grants 
Deadline: Rolling
Grants to support special events held by nonprofit organizations. Special events may include fundraising dinners, walks, biking and golf events, galas, award ceremonies, and similar events that do not provide Pfizer with a tangible benefit.

American Hiking Society: National Trails Fund
The National Trails Fund, sponsored by American Hiking Society (AHS), provides support to grassroots nonprofit organizations throughout the country working toward establishing, protecting, and maintaining foot trails in America. The Fund’s grants, ranging from $500 to $5,000, help give local groups the resources they need to secure access, volunteers, tools, and materials to protect America's public trails. Grants will be considered for the following: projects that have hikers as the primary constituency; projects that secure trail lands, including acquisition of trails and trail corridors and the costs associated with acquiring conservation easements; projects that will result in substantial ease of access, improved hiker safety, and/or avoidance of environmental damage; and projects that promote constituency building surrounding specific trail projects. Applying organizations must be AHS Alliance Members. Online applications may be submitted from November 1 to December 12, 2014.

Department of Health and Human Services
The Interventions for Youth Who Misuse/Abuse Prescription Stimulant Medications in High School and/or College-Attending Youth program is seeking to fund studies to develop and test interventions of high school and college-attending youth who are at risk for prescription stimulant misuse. Optional letters of intent are due October 13, 2014. The application deadline is November 13, 2014.

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Virginia Rural Health Association
2265 Kraft Drive
Blacksburg, VA 24060

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