Virginia Rural Health Association - Weekly Update
VRHA Weekly Update
In this Issue  January 19, 2016

VRHA News Virginia News National News Mark your calendar
Funding Opportunities

Thanks to our Diamond Sponsor!


There are still a few sponsor and exhibit slots available at the VRHA conference,
click here to learn more!





Internet Discounts

VRHA has been awarded a HRSA Rural Health Network Development Planning Grant to create a Rural Health Telecommunications Consortium for Virginia. The consortium would draw down federal funds to improve health information technology applications in rural communities.

Want to learn how to save your facility 65% on your internet bills?  Join us for the pre-conference kick-off meeting for all the details.

Certain entities are eligible to attend the VRHA Annual Conference for free if they also attend the kick-off meeting.  If you represent a nonprofit hospital, Community Health Center, rural clinic, or Skilled Nursing Facility, contact VRHA to see if your facility is eligible.

Click here for information and registration for the kick-off meeting.  Click the conference logo to the right for details about our annual event.
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VRHA Annual Conference
October 19 & 20
Abingdon, VA

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Deadline Approaching!

VRHA is now accepting applications for Poster Presentations from health professions students at the conference. A maximum of 15 applications will be approved for display and presentation.

Posters will be on display October 19 with presentations made from 10:45 - 12:00 that day.  

The Poster Presentations provide participants with the ideal opportunity to disseminate information to other rural health stakeholders. Poster Presentations may include research projects, case studies, clinical evaluations, case presentations, observations, unusual or uncommon situations and other topics as they relate to rural health.  All types of health professions students are encouraged to submit applications for consideration.  

Submission deadline is September 30, 2016.

Visit the VRHA Conference website and click the "Poster Presentations" tab for details.

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Rx Drug Abuse Forums

VRHA is partnering with One Care of Southwest Virginia to host the "Forum on Prescription Drug Abuse for Healthcare Providers."

The September 9th & 10th events reached maximum capacity.  Make sure you register for one of the two remaining forums before all the slots are gone!

September 24 - Abingdon
September 25 - Blacksburg

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Virginia News

Maternal Depression

By Kenneth Gilliam - Commonwealth Policy Institute

More women who suffer from untreated maternal depression could get the help they need if Virginia lawmakers would say yes to expanding Medicaid and accepting the federal funds that would come with it. 

Maternal depression hurts women and their children, according to a recent report from the Center for Children and Families at Georgetown University. While effective treatments for depression are available, they remain out of reach for mothers who lack health insurance and those struggling to make ends meet. The Affordable Care Act gave states options to cover more adults by expanding Medicaid, helping more women get the care they need. But, Virginia lawmakers have yet to take action, leaving more than 100,000 women without health care coverage.

Making sure mothers get quality, affordable health care and treatment for maternal depression is necessary for children’s healthy development and future success. Untreated maternal depression is seen as contributing to changes in children’s brain chemistry, learning disabilities, social disorders, and difficulty in dealing with stress. When states expand Medicaid, children have the opportunity to receive care from healthier adults and improve their chances of breaking the cycle of generational poverty.

Read the full article.

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School Nurses

By Devon Ziminski - Chronicle of Social Change

A new advocacy campaign in Virginia has refocused the role of school nurses as crucial healthcare providers in schools. The campaign, led by school nurse Dana Holladay-Hollifield, aims to require a school nurse in all Virginia public schools, especially in schools with higher numbers of students with chronic illnesses and those unable to access primary healthcare.

The American Academy of Pediatrics’ June 2016 policy statement calls for a minimum of one full-time registered nurse in every school. The policy statement replaces a 2008 version that supported ratios of one school nurse to 750 students.

Current Virginia Standards of Quality, set for public schools by the state’s Board of Education, require a pupil-to-staff ratio for secretaries and guidance counselors, but do not require a school nurse in each school. The state suggests a ratio of one nurse per 1000 students.

Read the full article.

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Close to Home

She died alone in the middle of the night, and her body was swiftly autopsied, embalmed and carted 135 miles to a remote Kentucky county where she had been raised. There, Dan Ridener waited. The undertaker watched as the Cadillac Escalade pulled up and the corpse was wheeled inside. Then he removed the blanket covering McCreary County Funeral Home’s newest arrival.

The document didn’t say anything about a cause of death, but Ridener didn’t need it to know what had happened: Another white woman had died in what should have been the prime of her life. Across America, especially in rural and working-class communities, death rates have been accelerating among middle-aged white women for a generation, and in McCreary County, which is 91 percent white, no one knows this better than the undertaker, who now lifted Maxwell’s body onto an aluminum table.

Ridener peered down at the body. As with most of the people who end up on his table, he was familiar with Maxwell and the troubled life she had led. In the last decade, Kentucky courts had convicted her of 11 separate drug- and alcohol-related charges. At the time of her death, she was facing four more.

Read the full article.

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National News

Rural/Urban Communication

By Tim Size - Daily Yonder

I first came to Wisconsin in the mid ‘70s to work at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics in Madison. While there, I was asked to do “outreach” to rural hospital administrators in the southwest part of the state–to offer them services that the hospital had become interested in selling. Long story short, after multiple lunches they politely said no thanks but went on to explain what they would find useful.

Over the following year our collaboration led to the incorporation of the Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative (RWHC) in 1979. A cooperative business model was seen as a model well known in rural communities that would allow for a variety of organizations to work together without fear of a loss of control. RWHC has grown to be owned and operated by 40, rural acute, general medical-surgical hospitals, an advocacy and shared services network among both freestanding and system affiliated hospitals.

Read the full article.

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End the Opioid Epidemic

From the National Rural Health Association

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy, MD, recently issued a call for clinicians and leaders to take a pledge to help end the opioid crisis.

“I know solving this problem will not be easy,” Murthy writes. “We often struggle to balance reducing our patients’ pain with increasing their risk of opioid addiction. But, as clinicians, we have the unique power to help end this epidemic. As cynical as times may seem, the public still looks to our profession for hope during difficult moments. This is one of those times. That is why I am asking you to pledge your commitment to turn the tide on the opioid crisis.”

Click here to sign the pledge and learn more about this effort.

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Barriers to Mental Health

The archetype of quiet, small towns with a strong sense of community – where friendliness is abundant and “big city” stresses are few – often marks the popular imagery used to represent the state and its values. But for many of those who live in Oklahoma’s rural areas, the reality does not match the trouble-free imagery.
Outside of Oklahoma City and Tulsa and their suburbs, a disproportionate number of residents betray key signs of untreated mental-health problems and substance abuse, an Oklahoma Watch analysis of state data found. Some of those signs register tragedy.

Among the 10 Oklahoma counties with the highest suicide rates over the last decade, for example, all but three have populations living mostly in rural areas. And the non-rural areas in those three counties consist of smaller towns – what most people consider rural, or non-urban.

Read the full article.

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ACA Marketplaces

By Morgan Haefner - Becker's Hospital Review

With 2.3 million Affordable Care Act marketplace enrollees facing the choice of one insurer next year — up 2 million from 2016 —  insurer pullbacks may threaten competition in nearly a third of U.S. counties.
An updated Kaiser Family Foundation analysis — requested by The Wall Street Journal — looked at the distribution of exchange enrollment by the number of insurers in 2016 compared to the potential distribution next year.
Here are some key rural statistics from the analysis:

  • Approximately 7.9 million enrollees will have three or more marketplace insurers to choose from next year. The majority — 7.4 million — live in primarily urban counties, and 504,000 live in primarily rural counties.
  • Sixty-six percent of primarily urban counties will have a choice of three or more marketplace insurers in 2017, compared to 33 percent of primarily rural counties.
  • Approximately 629,000 enrollees living in rural counties will face single insurer marketplaces next year, or about 41 percent of all marketplace enrollees in rural counties. This is up from 7 percent in 2016.
Read the full article.

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Mark Your Calendar

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

September 23: Rural Health Funding Summit - South Boston
September 24: Forum on Prescription Drug Abuse for Healthcare Providers - Abingdon
September 25: Forum on Prescription Drug Abuse for Healthcare Providers - Blacksburg
October 18: Rural Health Telecommunication Consortium Kick-Off Meeting - Abingdon
October 18-19:  Rural Health Coding & Billing Specialist Training  - Abingdon
October 19-20: VRHA Annual Conference - Abingdon

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Redesigned ORH Website 
In an effort to increase rural Veterans' access to care and services, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Office of Rural Health (ORH) launched a redesigned website with all new content. The website aims to be a conduit for community collaborations that support the integration of local, state and federal programs and services that support rural Veterans. The site offers centralized information on rural Veterans, and the programs and services VA offers in coordination with strategic national partners. The new partnership section of the website features a list of collaborating organizations, partnership efforts and an outreach toolkit. 

Pain Treatment Toolbox
A variety of resources from the US Surgeon General to assist healthcare providers address pain management issues while also addressing the opioid addiction crisis.

Intermountain Healthcare TeleHealth Services
Intermountain TeleHealth Services provides consultation and emergency medical help through video and audio conferencing platforms, serving patients and clinicians in remote areas. Intermountain has installed video and audio conferencing platforms in over 800 patient rooms, intensive care units, emergency departments, and neonatal care units. During the first 6 months of use, mortality rates decreased, the length of hospital stays decreased, and patient retention increased.

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Funding Opportunities

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

NBCC Foundation Military Scholarship
Offers scholarships to master's level counseling students who have experience with military communities and commit to serving military personnel for at least 2 years after graduation.
Application Deadline: Oct 31, 2016 

NBCC Foundation Rural Scholarships
Offers scholarships to students residing in rural areas who are currently enrolled in a master's level counseling program and are committed to practicing in rural communities after graduation.
Application Deadline: Oct 31, 2016 

Whole Kids School Garden Grant Program
Offers grants to develop school gardens.
Application Deadline: Oct 31, 2016 

Fuel Up to Play 60: Jump Start Healthy Changes Grants
Offers funding for schools to improve opportunities for healthy eating and physical activity.
Application Deadline: Nov 2, 2016 

Rural Health Research Dissemination Cooperative Agreement
Funding to disseminate and market policy-oriented information for use by diverse audiences and policymakers at national, state, and community levels to inform and raise awareness of issues affecting rural health.
Application Deadline: Dec 14, 2016 

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Virginia Rural Health Association
2265 Kraft Drive
Blacksburg, VA 24060

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