Virginia Rural Health Association - Weekly Update
VRHA Weekly Update
In this Issue August 17, 2015

VRHA News Virginia News National News Mark your calendar
Funding Opportunities


August newsletter available





Small Hospital Workshop 

The 2015 VRHA Conference will include a full day Small Hospital Workshop on CAH Cost Report oppotunities.  The seminar will provide a brief overview of the cost report from a structural perspective and then discuss opportunities for improving reimbursement by improving the
accuracy of the cost report.

The presentation is designed for CEOs, CFOs, COOs, CAH Fiscal Managers, Department Managers Supervisors, Senior  
Management, Billing and Coding Managers and will feature common opportunities seen in cost reports throughout the country. In addition, this presentation will include a substantial question and answer session where Virginia CAHs can share their experiences.          
with others.  

Eric Shell from Stroudwater Associates will be leading the Small Hospital Workshop again this year.  Click the conference logo for event details, registration and lodging information.
GIF logo
VRHA Annual Conference
October 13 & 14, 2015
Staunton, VA

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Members in the News

By Linda Burchette - SWVA Today

[VRHA member] Smyth County Community Hospital was celebrating a special achievement this week, something many hospitals have not been able to accomplish. SCCH marked one year with no hospital-acquired infections at the Marion facility.

“It’s a very good thing,” said James Tyler, chief executive officer. “It takes everybody. Not just nurses but housekeeping cleaning the room and maintenance washing their hands. That’s what makes this so spectacular. To do that for a month or two is good,” he said. “To do that for over a year is spectacular. You’ve hard-wired safety into a daily routine.”

Read the full article.

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More Members in the News

By Laura Ungar and Jayne O'Donnell - USA TODAY 

Some areas that top the nation for unemployment also fare worst in a health measure that can keep people from getting jobs — missing teeth.

Problems begin early in life. [VRHA member] Terry Dickinson, executive director of the Virginia Dental Association and founder of its Mission of Mercy program, recalled the youngest patient to have all his teeth extracted at RAM was a 19-year-old man. Of nearly 50,000 extractions performed from 2000-2014 at the clinic, Dickinson said a growing number are among people in their 20s. He always worries what this will mean for their job prospects, since "if somebody doesn't have teeth, they're not going to work in the service industry," where they have to deal with the public all day.

Read the full article.

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Virginia News

Medicaid at 50

By Dan Heyman - Public News Service

Medicaid turns 50 years old, and the impact it's had on the lives of children is being praised, both by advocates and academics. Two in seven Virginia children receive services though the healthcare program, which was created primarily for poor families and those with disabilities. Jill Hanken, a staff attorney with the Virginia Poverty Law Center, says the effects of the program on children who have received Medicaid benefits has been significant.

Virginia has not taken advantage of an option under the Affordable Care Act to expand Medicaid's coverage of the working poor. Critics in the General Assembly say it would be too expensive, but expansion supporters note the federal government would pay nearly the entire cost. Children's advocates argue that even kids who qualify now would do better under expansion, in part because their families would be more financially stable.

Read the full article and related commentary.

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Stark Contrast

By Terry McAuliffe - Roanoke Times

Two weeks ago, I stood on the Wise County Fairgrounds and witnessed the exciting opportunities available for our health care system through the use of modern, cutting-edge technology. At the same time, I was surrounded by 2,200 men, women and children waiting for medical assistance. For many, it would be the only care they receive this year. The contrast could not be starker.

Virginia is seizing on the many opportunities available to modernize its health system through genomics, personalized care and world-class bioscience research. These emerging sectors are a key part of my plan to build a new Virginia economy with good-paying jobs and a diverse foundation of innovative, sustainable businesses and employers. 

My team and I are working hard every day to make that vision a reality, but we also understand we cannot fully realize our goal as long as thousands of individuals have no access to the health care security they deserve, and as long as many of our rural hospitals are struggling to eke out a slender profit.

Read the full editorial and related commentary in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Galax Gazette

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Close to Home

By Taylor Sisk - North Carolina Health News

The old model no longer worked. Since 1954, the 52-bed hospital at 500 Morven Rd., on the edge of downtown Wadesboro, county seat of Anson County, had served the community well.
But the model no longer worked for a rural community with a stagnant population. For a variety of reasons, the number of people admitted to small, rural hospitals is declining. All those inpatient beds aren’t needed. The financial model was no longer viable in Anson.
What was needed was something entirely new. But the solution wasn’t immediately apparent. Some reimagining was in order.
“Honestly, I don’t know if we knew what we were getting,” said Denise White, vice president and chief of nursing of the new Carolinas HealthCare System Anson hospital and a leader of the team that planned and designed the one-story facility that now shimmers out on the highway.

Read the full article.

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National News

55th Rural Hospital Closes

By Nick Wicksman - Cronkite News 

Medicare restrictions are crippling rural healthcare centers like Cochise Regional Hospital, which is set to close Friday after a funding dispute with the federal agency, an Arizona health expert testified Tuesday.
Dr. Daniel Derksen, the director of the University of Arizona’s Center for Rural Health, was one of several health care experts testifying before a House subcommittee on “rural health disparities created by Medicare.”
They told a House Ways and Means subcommittee that rural facilities operate on such thin margins that any change in policy or delay in payment can “push them over the brink.” 
Derksen testified that more than 250 rural hospitals are at risk of closure, and if Cochise Regional closes this week it would be the 55th hospital to do so since 2010.

Read the full article.

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Rural Hospitals Blast 'Arcane' Policies

By Shannon Muchmore - Modern Healthcare

The 96-hour rule and a possible direct-supervision policy are a danger to critical-access hospitals, rural health leaders said at a congressional hearing.

They also told members of the House Ways and Means Committee's Health Subcommittee that graduate medical education slots need to be more fairly allocated to help rural areas recruit providers.

Shannon Sorenson, CEO of Brown County Hospital in Ainsworth, Neb., said the 96-hour rule is arcane and creates unnecessary red tape. The rule requires physicians at critical-access hospitals to certify that Medicare and Medicaid patients may reasonably expect to be discharged or transferred to another hospital within 96 hours of admission.

Read the full article.

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Rethinking Mental Health

A new partnership in southwest Kansas aims to build mental health services and help strengthen a couple of rural hospitals at the same time. The nonprofit United Methodist Health Ministry Fund is leading an effort to make the health system work better for people in rural Kansas. The fund’s president, Kim Moore, says the current structure based on small, low-volume hospitals isn’t likely to survive long-term.

Hospital officials think one way to reduce the need for emergency room care is by providing more complete primary care. So they’re using the United Methodist Health Ministry Fund grant to add a mental health therapist. Debbie Bruner, who heads the hospital and its rural health clinic, says they see patients who need mental health services every day.

Read the full article.

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Doc Shortages

By Ted Roelofs - Bridge Magazine   

Though her choice of medical school took her to the heart of Detroit, Jill Kalcich always knew she would set up practice somewhere a little less crowded.  That's how the 2002 graduate of the Wayne State University School of Medicine wound up in the Upper Peninsula's remote Keweenaw Peninsula, where she is the only physician at Keweenaw Holistic Family Medicine. Her clinic office is just a few miles on country roads from where she grew up. In the winter, that can be an adventure.
"Growing up here, I think, was the biggest impact in that decision," Kalcich said. "When you are practicing in a rural location, you are actually doing more because you don't have so much access to specialty medicine.

National research suggests that a shortage of primary care physicians can lower the quality of patient care, even as it drives up costs. A key reason for the rural primary care gap, according to the CRC report's author, is a decline in the percentage of medical school graduates who come from rural areas.

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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Roadmap: Path to Progress 
Presents an overview of major economic issues facing Virginia and policy solutions that can best address them.

Community Health Legislative Dashboards
Ccommunity health legislative dashboards with key statistics corresponding to legislative areas. Statistics provided cover demographic and population data, health indicators, local hospital listings, and more. These dashboards are grouped by Senate District and House District.

Falling in the Gap
Interactive map shows the number of uninsured adults in each House and Senate district who could get coverage if Virginia accepted the federal dollars already allocated to close the coverage gap in our state.

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Funding Opportunities

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

Anthem Foundation Grants
Supports health and wellness programs including prevention and education programs in the areas of healthy hearts, diabetes, cancer, maternal health, and active lifestyles.
Application Deadline: Aug 28, 2015

Gannett Foundation Community Action Grants
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.
Application Deadline: Aug 29, 2015

Weyerhaeuser Giving Fund
Funds programs that work in the areas of affordable housing and shelter; education and youth development; environmental stewardship; and human services.
Application Deadline: Aug 31, 2015

BJ’s Charitable Foundation
Funding for programs working in the areas of hunger prevention and education for underserved populations.
Application Deadline: Oct 9, 2015

Rosalinde Gilbert Innovations in Alzheimer's Disease Caregiving Legacy Awards
Deadline: September 18, 2015
The Rosalinde Gilbert Innovations in Alzheimer's Disease Caregiving Legacy Awards, administered by the Family Caregiver Alliance, promote innovation in the field of Alzheimer’s caregiving by recognizing efforts which lead the way in addressing the needs of Alzheimer’s caregivers. Three awards of $20,000 each will be presented to nonprofit organizations, government agencies, or universities in the following categories:

  • The Creative Expression award encourages programs that use imaginative approaches in supporting family/informal caregivers or persons with Alzheimer's disease or related dementias.
  • The Diverse/Multicultural Communities award recognizes outreach programs to family/informal caregivers in ethnic, rural, low-income, LGBT, and other diverse communities. The Policy and Advocacy award promotes programs that advocate for systems change for the benefit of family/informal caregivers or care recipients with Alzheimer's disease or related dementias. 

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