VRHA Weekly Update
In this Issue May 19, 2014

VRHA News Virginia News National News Mark your calendar
Funding Opportunities


Check out IPHI's new website!




They're Back!

The response to our Handbook of Health Terms for Virginia Policymakers was such that we had to print more!  Now back in stock, this publication is an invaluable reference for anyone who must wade through the range of health-related phrases.

The Handbook has been proven to be a solid reference for healthcare administrators, community board members, healthcare advocates and others.  Its compact size allows users to slip it into pocket or purse and sneak a peek to provide orientation on the topic at hand without interrupting the flow of conversation.  

The Handbook of Health Terms for Virginia Policymakers is available to the public for $12, including shipping. 

To order your copy, please contact 
Beth O’Connor (540-231-7923).  Need a bunch of Handbooks?  Ask Beth about bulk rates.
Handbook photo

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Members in the News


As lawmakers in Virginia debate Medicaid expansion, the lack of a $96 billion, two-year, budget could lead to a state government shutdown.  As local leaders came together  to celebrate the new [VRHA member] Page Memorial Hospital, some mentioned the controversy in health care.

Mark Merrill, the president and CEO of Valley Health, a group that operates six hospitals, including Page Memorial, supports Medicaid expansion.

"It would be advantageous not just for the citizens so they can have quality health care, but also to the health care system in the Commonwealth," said Merrill.

There are about 400,000 people in Virginia without coverage and advocates want to close that gap.

Read the full article, then contact your GA members about closing the coverage gap!  You can also sign onto a letter from Healthcare for All Virginians.

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Webinars This Week

VRHA is wrapping up the Spring Webinar Series with these great offerings:

The Many Resources of Easter Seals - 2pm May 19  Click here to register (closes at 1pm)
Easter Seals has an incredible array of programs for you community.  Participate in this webinar to learn more about:

  • Easter Seals: Customers, Mission & Services
  • Easter Seals Transportation Group: Easter Seals Project ACTION (Accessible Transportation in Our Nation)/ESPA; National Center on Senior Transportation/NCST; Veterans’ Transportation and Community Living Initiative (VTCLI); National Center for Mobility Management
  • Easter Seals Health & Transportation Efforts: Easter Seals work in promoting and supporting the important connection between health and transportation
  • ESPA: Focus, Community Engagement & Systems-Change Process
  • Rural Community Transportation Programs: Examples of successful programs
  • Connection with Easter Seals: Mobility Planning Institute
  • Establishing a Rural Transportation Program for Dialysis: How to Begin & How to Sustain

Project REVIVE!  - 2pm May 21  Click here to register
REVIVE! is utilizing the nasal administration method for naloxone, alleviating any issues concerning the dangers of needles or infection at the injection site. Intranasal administration of naloxone has been found to be just as effective as muscular injection in a recent study performed by Lightlake Therapeutics Inc. in conjunction with the National Institute on Drug Abuse.  Click here for more.

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Student Representatives

VRHA is proud to announce the student representatives to the Board of Directors for the 2014/2015 academic year:

  • Raven Weaver, Gerontology, Virginia Tech (2nd Term)
  • Blake Lowe, Medicine, Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (2nd Term)
  • Rebecca Lindstrom, Clinical Nurse Leader, University of Virginia

Congratulations Raven, Blake, & Rebecca!                                                

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Virginia News

A Health Care Showdown

By The New York Times

In Virginia, there are 400,000 low-income people who can’t afford health coverage but don’t qualify for federal insurance subsidies. If they lived across the state line in Maryland, West Virginia or Kentucky, which have expanded their Medicaid programs, they could get the coverage they need. Terry McAuliffe, the Virginia governor, campaigned on bringing an expanded Medicaid program to Virginia, too.

But it hasn’t happened, and the reason is a group of recalcitrant Republicans in the House of Delegates who have blocked Medicaid expansion at every opportunity. They are so determined to keep poor people from getting health care that they are preventing passage of a two-year budget for the state for the fiscal year beginning July 1. If an agreement isn’t reached by then, they seem fully prepared to let the state government shut down, furloughing employees and shuttering services just as their counterparts in Washington did last fall.

Read the full article, and similar articles in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Roanoke Times,  (#1 and #2), the Schroeder Center for Health Policy and the Virginia Education Association.

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Dreams to Reality

By Tonia Moxley - Roanoke Times

When Bernice Davis developed vascular dementia in her 70s, it stole her from her family and inspired her daughter Linda Davis to go back to school to help other families struggling to care for ailing loved ones. A nurse since 1979, Linda Davis entered Radford University’s doctor of nursing practice degree program in 2010 with the idea of gaining skills to fill a growing need in her community that she herself had experienced: a nonprofit health care organization.

She accomplished all this while working full time locally as a behavioral health nurse. In fact, the college program is designed specifically for nursing professionals working full time, said Tony Ramsey, director of Radford’s School of Nursing.

Radford instituted the DNP program in 2010 as a 100 percent distance learning and clinical degree through a partnership with Shenandoah University in Winchester. Today more than 60 students from as far away as Georgia are enrolled, and 26 students so far have graduated, Ramsey said.

The DNP degree was instituted nationally in the mid-2000s for advanced practice nurses who want to teach and mentor other nurses, work on acute and chronic patient care teams in hospitals and clinics, do clinically-based research and found and run medical facilities and programs, all to improve patient outcomes, Ramsey said.

Read the full article.

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Treatment for Kids

By the Associated Press

Dominion Resources is donating to the Virginia Treatment Center for Children $250,000 to support mental health treatment for children and adolescents in Southside and Southwest Virginia.

Dominion says access to treatment is limited in Southside and Southwest Virginia. The funding will be used to support telemedicine programs in these areas.

Specialists with the center and the VCU Department of Psychiatry's Child and Adolescent Division will consult with pediatricians and treat patients remotely. They also will provide training to local mental health professionals.

The donation will be made through the Dominion Foundation. Construction of the treatment center's new facility is expected to begin this fall. The new center is expected to be completed by fall 2016.

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National News

Crisis Mode

By Lindsey Corey - National Rural Health Association

The Wall Street Journal’s Valerie Bauerlein contacted the National Rural Health Association to put the recent increase in rural hospital closings into perspective.
NRHA’s Maggie Elehwany told her: “We are in crisis mode. We’ve got gale-force winds coming from one direction, the tide coming in from another and it’s really hitting these small hospitals who operate at tiny margins.”
More rural hospitals have closed in the last year than in the past 15 combined.
Click here for the full May 11 Journal article, which highlights rural hospital statistics nationwide, plus struggles and possible solutions in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Massachusetts.

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Questions for Burwell

David Lee - National Rural Health Association

Several Senators raised concerns with HHS treatment of rural hospitals during today’s hearing in the Senate Finance Committee. Senators Roberts, Warner, and others brought up the challenges that all rural hospitals face with Recovery Audit Contractors (RACs) and the delays in the appeals process that all hospitals are experiencing.  Senators Roberts and Warner specifically pointed to the challenges that these audits and the appeals delays present for small rural hospitals.
In addition to the concerns about RACs, Senator Roberts also raised his concerns with the 96-hour payment rule for Critical Access Hospitals. Secretary-Designate Burwell committed to working with the Finance Committee, CMS, and stakeholders to address this problematic issue.  Secretary-Designate Burwell commented on her own rural background and noted that she would be committed to the long-term sustainability of all Critical Access Hospitals.
NRHA thanks Senator Roberts, Senator Warner, and the other Senators for their commitment to rural health care.  We also appreciate Secretary-Designate Burwell’s commitment to sustaining Critical Access Hospitals moving forward. For more information on the hearing or to hear a recording of the full hearing, please click here.


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Mental Health First Aid 

By Candi Helseth - Rural Assistance Center

Long before people land in treatment for mental illness, there are signs and symptoms that have often gone ignored. Nearly half of the U.S. population experiences a mental disorder in their lifetime, yet mental illness continues to be a disease habitually surrounded by silence. In rural areas where professional resources are limited, community-based resources such as Mental Health First Aid (MHFA), mental health hotlines and free screenings are being used to identify and support individuals in distress.

“MHFA is a perfect fit for rural communities because these areas don’t have the concentration and variety of professional services that urban areas do,” said MHFA National Trainer Rita McElhany. “So it’s even more important that rural residents understand and are competent to respond to mental health issues.”

“When you bring MHFA training into rural communities, the overall community level of awareness about resources increases and often leads to greater community collaboration,” said Atlas Research Vice President Wendy Opsahl, PhD. “Government-funded organizations, churches and service organizations work together to create better support networks that address mental illness in their communities.”

Read the full article.

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Rural Dentistry

By Kaylee Wonder - American Student Dental Association

I grew up in a small rural village in Thailand with less than 500 people. The village was located approximately 2-3 hours from the city. Growing up, I was under the impression that dentists only pull and straighten teeth. I had no idea that they do more than just extractions and orthodontic treatments. For 13 years, I had only seen a dentist once for an extraction. The only reason I even visited the dentist was because my parents and brother had a difficult time pulling one of my teeth. There were many methods of pulling teeth in my childhood. Whether it was tying my tooth to a door knob or pretending to fall out of a swing, I tried them all. Sometimes these methods worked and sometimes they didn’t.

The lack of dental care I experienced in Thailand brings to light the stark realization of inaccessible or challenging oral health care in rural communities. As a little girl, I wish someone taught me how important taking care of my oral health was. Because of my childhood experience, the lingering questions of, “What if I lost all my teeth before going to college? How would my self image be? What if I had a really bad toothache and my parents couldn’t take me to a dentist whose office is 2-3 hours away?” Looking back, the need for a dentist in rural communities who can give proper dental education to people and provide routine dental care for them is important. 

Read the full article.

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Mark Your Calendar

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

May 19: The Many Resources of Easter Seals - webinar
May 21: Project REVIVE! - webinar
May 22: Leadership Development for Rural Health - webinar

June 2: Cutting Edge Breakthroughs for Aging with Lifelong Disabilities - Richmond
June 11: 
SW VA Managed Care Provider Meeting - Abingdon
June 12: The  State Street Project: Health Across Borders - Bristol
June 20-21: Dental Care Approaches for Adults with Disabilities - Lynchburg
June 26: Addressing Disaster Preparedness in Rural Communities - Richmond & videoconference
July 16-18: Rural Quality & Clinical Confernce - Atlanta, GA
September 30-October 1: Rural Health Clinic Conference - Kansas City, MO
October 1-3: Critical Access Hospital Conference - Kansas City, MO

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The Two-Midnight Rule
The Two-Midnight Rule is a new payment policy from CMS stating that any hospital stay expected to span at least two midnights is generally appropriate for billing under Part A of Medicare. CMS has postponed enforcement of the rule until October 1, 2014. Watch the webinar and learn more about the role evidence-based guidelines and criteria play under this new payment policy.

Health Coverage and Care in the South: A Chartbook
Provides key data on the demographic and economic characteristics of the southern population as well as their health status, health insurance coverage, and access to care. Provides data on citizenship status, age, urban-rural composition, and income of residents in the South as well as the number of rural clinics and federally qualified health centers in the South.
Organization: Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured

2013 NCHS Urban–Rural Classification Scheme for Counties
Updates the 2006 NCHS urban-rural county classification. Uses the classification to analyze selected National Vital Statistics System and National Health Interview Survey data, to show the utility of this classification method in identifying rural-urban differences.
Organization: National Center for Health Statistics

Conquering the Challenges of Broadband Adoption
Reports that rural Americans are more than 13 times more likely to lack access to fixed broadband than Americans in non-rural areas. Authors report that the Internet is increasingly important in the distribution of high-quality healthcare. The Internet can allow patients to interface directly with healthcare professionals a great distance away, but this requires a robust broadband connection.

Extent of Telehealth Use in Rural and Urban Hospitals
Provides discussion with statistics on the use of telehealth in rural hospitals and the opportunities telehealth can bring to supporting health care in rural communities


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Funding Opportunities

Public Health Services and Systems Research
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation seeks to expand the evidence base for effective public health policy and practice through investment in Public Health Services and Systems Research. The current Call for Proposals aims to expand the evidence for administrative and policy mechanisms that improve quality, efficiency, and value in public health delivery.
Application Deadline: July 23, 2014

National Science Foundation 
The Advancing Informal STEM Learning program's Science Learning+ branch provides support to improve the knowledge bases and practices of informal STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) experiences to better understand, strengthen, and coordinate STEM engagement and learning. The application deadline is July 10, 2014.

Rural Health and Safety Education Competitive Grants Program
Application deadline: Jun 6, 2014
Provides funding to community-based, outreach education and extension programs at land-grant colleges and universities that provide individuals and families based in rural areas with information on health, wellness, and prevention.

Rural Health Fellows Program
Application deadline: Aug 31, 2014
A year-long, intensive program designed to develop a community of rural health leaders.
Sponsor: National Rural Health Association 

Jim Meeks, PA-C, DFAAPA Memorial AFPPA Student Scholarship
Application deadline: Sep 1, 2014
Offers a scholarship to a physician assistant students who display a commitment to family practice and rural health.

Faculty Loan Repayment Program
Supports health professions educators who are from disadvantaged backgrounds and serve a vital role in preparing the next generation of healthcare professionals.  The financial assistance offered through the Faculty Loan Repayment Program decreases the economic barriers associated with pursuing a career as a health professions educator preparing the next generation of health professionals.  Applications must be submitted by June 26, 2014 

The Kresge Foundation: Leveraging the Effectiveness of Networks
Applications accepted on a rolling basis
Funding to support the work of umbrella organizations and human-services networks that are leading efforts to improve members' effectiveness.

Data for Life Prize
June 18th, 2014
The Data for Life Prize will award $50,000 to two organizations that can help identify the best approaches for reducing child mortality by supporting accurate, scientific evaluation of the number of lives that they save.

Elton John AIDS Foundation
The Elton John AIDS Foundation supports innovative HIV prevention programs, efforts to eliminate stigma associated with HIV/AIDS, and direct services for people living with HIV/AIDS. Through the 2014 general Request for Proposals, the Foundation will provide grants of up to $75,000 to nonprofit organizations located in the U.S., Canada, the Caribbean, and Latin America. The grantmaking priorities include improving health outcomes and advancing equal rights for Black Americans, sexual health and rights of adolescents and young adults, syringe access and harm reduction, health and rights of people who are or were recently incarcerated, and access to HIV treatment. For 2014, the Foundation will also provide support through the LGBTQ Community Initiative for innovative programs working to confront the HIV/AIDS crisis facing the LGBTQ communities. Organizations may request grants of up to $75,000 for local, state, or regional work, or up to $300,000 for work in multiple locations or at a national scale. Online letters of inquiry for both grant programs are due June 12, 2014. 

American Psychiatric Foundation: Helping Hands Grant Program
The American Psychiatric Foundation is dedicated to advancing public understanding of mental illnesses. The Foundation’s Helping Hands Grant Program was established to encourage medical students to participate in community service activities, to raise awareness of mental illness and the importance of early recognition of illness, and to build medical students’ interest in psychiatry and working in underserved communities. The program provides grants of up to $5,000 to medical schools for mental health and substance use disorder projects that are created and managed by medical students, particularly in underserved minority communities. Funded projects can be conducted in partnership with community agencies or in conjunction with ongoing medical school outreach activities. The application deadline is June 13, 2014.

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