Virginia Rural Health Association - Weekly Update
VRHA Weekly Update
In this Issue  August 10, 2015

VRHA News Virginia News National News Mark your calendar
Funding Opportunities


Newsletter available





Deadline Approaching!

VRHA is accepting applications for Poster Presentations at the conference. A maximum of 14 applications will be approved for display and presentation.

Posters will be on display October 13 with presentations made from 3:30-5:00 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.  Both students and professionals are encouraged to submit applications for consideration.

Submission deadline is
 August 28 - click the conference logo at right to visit the conference website for full details.
GIF logo

Annual Conference
October 13 & 14
Staunton, VA

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Members in the News

Virginia is one of 19 states that have not expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.  So community clinics here are expanding their mission and changing their image as they strive to fill the gap. There’s a misperception that what used to be called Free Health Clinics still serve only adults who can’t afford to pay… that people fortunate enough to have health insurance, should never patronize.  But in fact, the opposite is true.

“Now we see everyone. We see children, adults, the uninsured, homeless and the insured individual.”

[VRHA member] Michelle Brauns is Executive Director of the Community Health Centers with offices in Montgomery and Giles counties.  A year and a half ago, they became Federally Qualified Health Centers or FQHCs. Before the change, 100% of patients here were not covered by health insurance.

Read the full article.

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Virginia News

Mental Health Transportation

By Olivia Bailey - WCYB

The state of Virginia and its legislators have tried to be proactive in providing quality mental health care for patients after Virginia State Senator Creigh Deeds' stabbing by his son, who received mental health treatment. Some of the changes in that system have had unforeseen circumstances.

We found that once patients are transported, there is then a problem on getting them back home. There is no standard procedure for that, and often it becomes the responsibility of the mental health facility.

Clearview in Lebanon one of the three facilities in southwest Virginia who takes these patients. They try to find money everywhere to get these patients home, sometimes even coming out of health care workers' pockets.

"There are times where they can get ahold of somebody who can come get them if they can get gas money, and there are times where my staff will pitch in and they'll make an anonymous donation so that there's gas money to get the patient home, but we use any resource." Said John Hagy, the program director at Clearview, a mental health facility in Lebanon.
Read the full article.

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Lee County

On Oct. 1, 2013, the day Wellmont Health System shuttered Lee County Regional Medical Center, access to health care became easier for pets than people. “There is no doubt that people have passed away because there was no hospital here,” said Sheriff Gary Parsons. “We lose the golden hour in the amount of time that it takes to get them to another hospital in Big Stone or Kingsport.” And that’s if one of the county’s too-few ambulance crews is nearby.

When the hospital closed, the forgotten part of Virginia was put to the test. Did the people of Lee County still have a political voice that carried beyond their borders? The answer arrives later this year. The Lee County Hospital Authority will reopen a hospital its commissioners claim was closed for all the wrong reasons.

“What I think is a remarkable story is that communities moan and give up. The folks in Lee County stood up and said, ‘We’ll fix this,’ ” said U.S. Sen. Mark Warner.

Read the full article.

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Close to Home

By Laura Ungar - Courier Journal

The road to this struggling rural town winds up an Appalachian foothill, cresting in a forested community of small homes and farms near the Kentucky border.  Tiffany Hurst has lived here all of her 20 years.  It's a five-minute walk from Kentucky, where cousins around her age have gotten Medicaid because their state expanded the program.  But her state has not, so Hurst remains uninsured.

"I think it's crazy," Hurst said.  "Kentucky and Tennessee shouldn't be no different as close as they are together."

Clairfield symbolizes in iron about Medicaid as the program hits the half-century mark: Americans in similar financial straits face vastly different healthcare fortunes depending on where they live.

Read the full article.

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National News

50 Years of Medicaid and Medicare

By Erin Mahn - National Rural Health Association

July 30th marked the 50th Anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson signing Medicare and Medicaid into law, and the National Rural Health Association recognizes the importance Medicare has on access to care in rural America.

Medicare serves a disproportionate number of rural Americans. Twenty-three percent of Medicare beneficiaries live in rural America, while only 20 percent of the population resides in rural America. Rural beneficiaries are more likely to be dually eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid than their urban counterparts.

Medicare – a major component of rural health care – pays rural providers less than their urban counterparts. Medicare spends 2.5 percent less on rural beneficiaries than it does on urban beneficiaries. Rural health care providers operate on very thin margins and many rural communities have severe medical workforce shortages. Yet, rural physicians, who put as much time, skill and intensity into their work as their urban counterparts, are reimbursed at lower rates.

Read the full article

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Driving to Deliver

By Jaclyn Cosgrove - NewsOK

The police officer looked past Travis Gray in the driver’s seat and saw Krista Gray, leaned back in the passenger seat, her feet on the dash, in mid-contraction.  Travis Gray had been driving 80 mph in a 70-mph zone, trying to get to an Amarillo, Texas, hospital so his wife could deliver their second daughter, Audrey.

Gray chose to deliver her daughter, Audrey, now 8, in Amarillo, wanting a higher level of care than was available in her hometown. But that meant a two-hour drive when she started having contractions at 11 p.m.

Across Oklahoma, thousands of women must drive more than an hour for access to a hospital with a maternity center, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Read the full article.

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Generation Gap

By Jodie Jackson Jr. - Columbia Daily Tribune

Jerry Meyer’s medical clinic, a brown brick building shaded by large trees, is part of a neighborhood where church steeples and ornate lightning rods adorn the tallest, oldest homes. Pickup trucks and agriculture equipment trailers haul farm machinery and livestock north on Main Street, past the doctor’s office, toward the interstate. There are signs of more modern times, sure, but also plenty of reminders of a different time, a slower time. At least that’s how it seemed in 1973 when Meyer started his independent medical practice. But the 42-year medical practice is in its final year. Meyer has decided to retire.

“I recognize I am part of a dying breed because I am solo and self-employed,” he says. “That’s uncommon nowadays, isn’t it?” It’s also somewhat uncommon for a local boy to go to medical school and come home to be a doctor and raise his family in his hometown, but that’s what Meyer did.

Read the full article.

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Grants Declining

From the High Plains/Midwest AG Journal

U.S. foundations are an important source of funds for public needs in the United States and elsewhere, providing more than $45 billion in grants in 2010. Although this represents a small share of total annual contributions to charities and other nonprofit organizations, foundations may have an outsize impact because of their relative independence from political and market pressures.

Some observers have noted the share of foundation grants for rural development has declined in recent years and argue foundations are neglecting rural America. However, the available estimates provide little information on the scope and trends of total foundation giving to rural areas or on how grant funds are distributed geographically. The purpose of a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service study was to characterize recent trends and patterns of foundation grants to rural communities.

Understanding the distribution of foundation grants to and across rural areas can help policymakers improve the effectiveness of public programs targeted to these areas, since foundation grants may complement or substitute for public investments.

Read the full article.

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Mark Your Calendar

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

August 24-27: Arthritis, AgrAbility, and Rural Health Conference - Knoxville, TN
August 25: Reimbursement 101 for Rural Health Care - webinar
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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What Works Fact Sheet
Informational handout summarizing Community Guide recommendations on cardiovascular disease.

2015-2016 Virginia Healthcare Guide
Comprehensive list of Virginia's hospitals, nursing facilities, mental health centers and more.

Roadmap: Path to Progress
Analysis of the state's challenges, based on the key trends in our communities, and policy solutions that invest in our people and spur lasting economic growth in the commonwealth.

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Funding Opportunities

Community Facility Grants through USDA Rural Development
Deadline: Applications accepted on an ongoing basis.
Grants are available to assist in the development of essential community facilities in rural areas and towns of up to 20,000 in population.

Connect 4 Mental Health
Connect 4 Mental Health (C4MH) is a nationwide initiative that calls for communities to prioritize serious mental illness. C4MH's Community Innovation Awards program is designed to recognize local organizations across the country that are working to implement innovative, collaborative approaches to address serious mental illness in their communities.

The Dennis Foundation
Deadline: Applications accepted year-round
Funding to support organizations that operate in the areas of education, health, human services, and religion.

Developing Healthy Places
Application deadline: Applications accepted on an ongoing basis.

Direct Community Investment Program
Application deadline: Applications accepted on an ongoing basis.
Provides low-interest loans to organizations or financing intermediaries that give disadvantaged populations access to jobs, housing, education, and health care.

Do Something Seed Grants
Deadline: Ongoing
Funding to support community action projects or programs that are just getting started or to jump-start a new program.

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Blacksburg, VA 24060

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