VRHA Weekly Update
In this Issue January 22, 2018

VRHA News Virginia News National News Mark your calendar
Funding Opportunities


January Newsletter





Farewell, Chuck

By Bruce Young - WDBJ7

Carilion Stonewall Jackson Hospital in Lexington is seeing a change in leadership.

Chuck Carr has been the CEO there since Carilion took over. Before that, he served on the hospital’s board. He says he feels that the arrival of Carilion has helped the hospital improve its services.

“I think as far as services and personnel, we've just got tremendous nurses and doctors, well staffed. I think we're positioned well to go forward and expand services more," Carr says as he steps aside. "So, yeah, I think it's a good time."

Editor's Note: Chuck Carr served on the VRHA Board of Directors, including the role of Board President in 2016.

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Members in the News

By Shaun Kenney - Republican Standard

Outstanding numbers from Public Opinion Strategies as [VRHA member] Virginia Hospital and Health Care Association reveals their numbers of health care reform — 83% of all Virginians want some form of health care coverage for the uninsured, and 72% of all Republicans agree with the sentiment.

Given the impact of Obamacare on the health care industry, it shouldn’t surprise a soul to discover that Virginia’s hospitals and health care centers — especially those in rural Virginia — are shouldering the brunt of the increased costs.

Read the full article.

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More Members in the News

By Caren Pinto - WSET

[VRHA member] 

Centra's Bedford Memorial Hospital is almost ready to open a new addition to the community.  The $4 million Emergency Department is scheduled to open on February 15.

One of the aspects of this new emergency department is that it will have it's own entrance and will now have 14 rooms instead of the previous 10, brand new medical equipment, as well as furniture.

In 2017, the CEO of Centra's Bedford Memorial Hospital said they saw 17,000 patients in the emergency department and they only expect those numbers to increase.

Read the full article.

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Virginia News

Fight for Patrick

By Carmen Forman - Roanoke Times

A fight to reopen Patrick County’s lone hospital turned into a fight over Medicaid expansion in the Virginia Senate Tuesday.

Democrats played hardball with a measure to update the license for Pioneer Community Hospital in Stuart, demanding that Sen. Bill Stanley support Medicaid expansion in exchange for their votes in favor of his bill, he said.

The emergency legislation by Stanley, R-Franklin, would retroactively extend the hospital’s license for a year, paving the way for the hospital to reopen after closing in September.

Read the full article,  related editorial, and follow up article regarding the revival of the bill by the Senate.

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Legislative Watch

Due to the number of bills, several have been grouped into general categories and all descriptions have been truncated.  Please click the bill number for details.

Certificate of Public Need: SB848SB842, HB1140, HB1402, HB1396, HB1211, HB1140, HB1102, and HB1492

Substance Abuse -

  • Prescription Monitoring Program: SB728, SB735, SB832, HB1295
  • SB882: Prescription refill; protocol.
  • HB1175: Prescribers; notice of administration of naloxone.
  • HB1172: Overdose death review teams.
Insurance –
  • SB639: Health care shared savings; incentive programs.
  • SB663: Health benefit plan networks; air ambulance providers; duties of health care providers.
  • SB671: Health carriers; participation in health benefit exchange; requirement for conducting insurance activities.
  • SB672: Health insurance; small employers; self-employed persons.
  • SB731: Health insurance plans; prior authorization for drug benefits or surgical procedures.
  • HB1190: Medicaid managed care plans; exchange participation.
  • HB1369 & HB1311: Health insurance; mandated coverage for autism spectrum disorder.
  • HB1478: Health insurance; coverage for prosthetic devices.
  • HB1481: Health insurance; coverage for contraceptives.
Mental Health –
  • HB1088: Hospitals; security and emergency department staff; mental health training.
  • HB1412 & SB670: Mental health awareness training; firefighters and emergency medical services personnel.
  • HB1487: & SB878:  Mental health services in local and regional correctional facilities.
Other -
  • HB1108: Secretary of Health and Human Resources; Medicaid waiver.
  • HB1064: Medical marijuana; written certification.
  • HB1389: Community health workers; certification.
  • HB1415: Henrietta Lacks Commission; report; sunset.
  • HB1433: Health care provider panels; vertically integrated carriers; public hospitals.
  • HB1436: Prescription drug price transparency.
  • SB843: Family life education; medically accurate information.

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Expansion Tie Breaker

By Dylan Scott - Vox

When a Virginia elections official pulled a name out of bowl, he didn’t only hand Republicans a 51-49 majority — the tiebreaker will also make it a little harder for the state to expand health coverage to 400,000 low-income Virginians.

Virginia Democrats won the governor’s seat on Election Night and very nearly swept to a shocking takeover of the state House. But they fell short after recounts and Thursday’s tiebreaker in the race between Republican David Yancey and Democrat Shelly Simonds (both got 11,608 votes) left the GOP hanging onto a bare majority.

Medicaid coverage for hundreds of thousands of low-income Virginians has been at stake throughout the campaign and the last month of recounts and bowl drawings.

Read the full article.

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National News

Dangerously Fragile

By Brian Alexander - Atlantic

This is the story of a small-town, publicly-owned hospital that, after thriving for decades, is struggling and now in all likelihood about to be appended to a large regional health-care system. The tale of Berger Municipal Hospital is, like that of many sectors of the American economy, one defined by industrial consolidation and the costs that come with it. The story begins in 1929. That year, the city fathers of Circleville, Ohio, in the south-central part of the state, dedicated the town’s new hospital, funded partly with money willed by a local patron named Franklin Berger.

Last November, however, Circleville’s voters chose another direction, one that, in other places, has resulted in an economic hit to the community—mostly in the form of job losses and stagnant wages—as well as a lowered quality of care. At the urging of city and county leaders, and Berger’s administrators, residents voted to allow local politicians and the hospital’s board to begin a process to turn Berger, one of the last publicly owned and operated hospitals in the state, into a nonprofit private corporation. Following that, Berger would most likely be integrated into a larger regional system, probably the Columbus-based nonprofit Ohio Health, with which Berger has an ongoing relationship. The hospital and the local leaders campaigned hard for that approval, but not because it was the ideal future they envisioned. They feared that Berger wouldn't survive any other way.

​Read the full article.

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Telemedicine Should Be Neutral

By Dusty Nix - Ledger Enquirer

One of Georgia’s most serious challenges is access to health care in rural parts of the state. To call the situation a crisis is no overstatement. The shortage of physicians, nurses and other health care professionals outside the state’s metro areas is worsening, and rural hospitals in Georgia, which serve disproportionately poor and indigent populations, have been closing at an alarming rate.

Now, according to Georgia Health News, rural health care access in Georgia and elsewhere faces a new threat that most of us probably didn’t think of in health terms at all — the Federal Communications Commission’s recent decision to end “net neutrality” rules that prohibited telecom companies from giving (or selling) different levels of priority connectivity — to divide the Internet, as GHN put it, into “slow” and “fast” lanes.

Read the full editorial.

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Mark Your Calendar

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

February 6-8: Rural Health Policy Institute - Washington, DC
March 3: Educational Forum on Prescription Drug Abuse - Martinsville
March 4: Educational Forum on Prescription Drug Abuse - Roanoke
April 15-17: MATRC Annual Telehealth Summit - Hershey, PA
May 8: Health Equity Conference - New Orleans, LA
May 8: Rural Medical Education Conference - New Orleans, LA
May 8-11: Annual Rural Health Conference - New Orleans, LA
May 8-11: Rural Hospital Innovation Summit - New Orleans, LA

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Model Program:Health Care Collaborative of Rural Missouri's Network Projects
To reach out to underserved adults living in rural West Central Missouri, The Health Care Collaborative of Rural Missouri's Network organizes Project Connect, a 1-day public health event that offers free public health and human services.

Model Program: Wyoming Trauma Telehealth Treatment Clinic
The WTTTC relies on psychology doctoral students to provide psychotherapy via telehealth to crisis center clients in Wyoming.

Modernizing Rural Health Clinic Provisions
Reviews Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) statutory authorization and current regulations to identify areas for improvement to meet the current and future healthcare needs. Includes recommendations regarding payment options, program support, services offered, workforce issues, and law requirements.

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Funding Opportunities

For funding opportunities without a specific deadline, please visit the VRHA Resources page
Citizens' Institute on Rural Design
The Citizens' Institute on Rural Design (CIRD) provides rural communities throughout the United States access to the resources they need to convert their own good ideas into reality. CIRD is offering competitive funding to as many as four small towns or rural communities to host an intensive, two-day community workshop to help build their capacity to solve their design challenges. The CIRD 2018 program is focused on helping rural leaders and residents come together to find creative solutions for the following design issues: Multimodal Transportation, Healthy Living by Design, and Main Streets. CIRD’s contribution includes a $10,000 stipend and in-kind technical assistance services. Support is provided for rural communities with a population of 50,000 or under.
The application deadline is February 16, 2018.

VMDAEC Education Scholarship
Each year, the Education Scholarship Foundation awards $1,000 scholarships. Primary residence of applicant's parent or legal guardian must receive its power from one of the 15 electric cooperatives served by Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives (VMDAEC). Applicants applying for a 2018 scholarship must be a senior graduating from either high school or home school in 2018.

Reeve Foundation Quality of Life Grants
Grants to nonprofit organizations that provide services to improve the daily lives of people with paralysis.
Letter of Intent (Required): Feb 15, 2018
Application Deadline: Mar 17, 2018

Drug Free Communities Support Program
Awards funding to coalitions working to reduce substance abuse among youth and to establish and strengthen collaboration among communities, organizations, and governmental entities.
Geographic coverage: Nationwide
Application Deadline: Mar 29, 2018


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