VRHA Weekly Update
In this Issue  April 28, 2014

VRHA News Virginia News National News Mark your calendar
Funding Opportunities


April Newsleter




Speak Up TODAY!

There are a number of town hall events TODAY, and another May 14th. We need you to attend and show your support for closing the coverage gap! Please also share these events with your networks.

In addition, ProgressVA will host a media event rally in support of closing the coverage gap in front of the Ashburn Public Library at 6:00pm. This rally will precede the Americans for Prosperity sponsored town hall that begins at 6:30pm inside the library.

Member/Members Date Time Location
Dels. Minchew, Ramadan, LaRock, & Greason - Hosted by Americans for Prosperity - REGISTER HERE 4/28/2014 6:30 PM Ashburn Library, 43316 Hay Rd, Ashburn, VA 20147
*ProgressVA rally at 6:00pm in front of Library
Sen. Garrett & Del. Farrell  
6:00 PM J. Sergeant Reynolds Community College, Community Room - 1851 Dickinson Rd., Goochland, VA 23063
Del. Dickie Bell - Hosted by Americans for Prosperity  
6:30 PM Waynesboro Public Library Community Room A 600 S Wayne Ave., Waynesboro, VA 22980
Sen. Louise Lucas  
6:30 PM Portsmouth City Hall Council Chamber - 801 Crawford St., Portsmouth, VA 23704

Click here for talking points.  No meeting scheduled in your area?  Contact your member of the GA directly.

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Members in the News

By Carol Vaughn - DelMarVaNow.com

Medical providers at [VRHA member] Eastern Shore Rural Health System, Inc. want Accomack and Northampton residents to know what steps to take to help their children avoid serious health problems that can result from tooth decay.

“People don’t think of it as an infectious disease,” said Dr. Scott Wolpin, ESRH’s new chief dental officer.

Rural Health is expanding its dental program to increase access to oral care, with a special focus on children. Still, there are not enough dentists in the region to meet all the needs.

Read the full article.

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Webinar Schedule

For detailed descriptions, visit the VRHA webinar page.

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Virginia News

Beware the Poll

By Ben Paul - Healthcare for all Virginians

Christopher Newport University's Wason Center for Public Policy released a poll (available here) which concluded that 53% of Virginians do not support the current proposal to expand Medicaid.
Upon analyzing the poll, it is evident that the question regarding Medicaid was clearly biased against expansion - resulting in a drop-off in support. Worse, CNU compared the conclusions of this biased question to the results of an earlier poll using a different, non-biased question (available here). The faulty comparison makes it appear that there has been a major loss of support for closing the coverage gap.
I have included three blog posts in this email that addresses in detail the fundamental flaws with this recent poll. These posts may be useful as you discuss the poll with advocates, allies, and opponents.
Virginia Should Be Wary of New Medicaid Poll
Jesse Cross-Call, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
"The pollsters say they found that Virginians' support for expansion dropped from 56 percent on February 3 to 41 percent now.  What the pollsters do not fully acknowledge, however, is that they asked the question in two markedly different ways, making this a highly misleading, apples-to-oranges finding that doesn't necessarily show a shift in public opinion."
CNU's Misdiagnosis of Health Reform Opinions
Massey Whorley, The Commonwealth Institute
"The Center should know better. If you want to find out whether public opinion on this important topic has changed from February to April you have to ask the same question each time. That's textbook Polling 101. But they didn't do that in a recent poll of Virginians' attitudes on expanding Medicaid. And that calls into very serious question the accuracy of their purported finding that public support for expanding health coverage has dramatically declined in little more than two months."
Beware of Medicaid Headlines
Dr. Chris Lillis
"I want to focus on the poll...Many polling items are ignored by the headlines, as are differences in the wording of the questions from February to April diminishing their apples-to-apples comparison.  The most glaring omission from the headlines and stories is the wording of the questions."

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First Matches

Laurence Hammack - The Roanoke Times

The first class of Roanoke’s new medical school hit a milestone, one that puts the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine on the medical map. One by one, the 40 students were called to the front of a crowded auditorium to place markers on a U.S. map, indicating where they will soon be practicing as resident physicians.

Just a half-hour earlier, the students had been handed letters informing them where they had been accepted for residency, the first full-time job a doctor will hold and the next required step of a medical education.  Four years after enrolling as the inaugural class of VTC, the aspiring doctors will graduate in May and then set out for teaching hospitals across the country — from Seattle to Norfolk, from Atlanta to Vermont.

Read the full article.

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15 Years of MOM

From [VRHA Member] Virginia Dental Association Foundation

Since the first project was held in Wise, VA, in 2000, the Mission of Mercy (MOM) program has evolved from a small non-profit into a vitally important part of the Commonwealth’s dental safety net. Now in its 15th year, MOM addresses the overwhelming need for access to free oral health care by holding mobile dental clinics in underserved communities across the state. 

“When we began this journey 15 years ago, we had no idea of the long-term impact it would have,” said Patrick Finnerty, VDAF President. “Since then, this organization has had the privilege of partnering with thousands of dentists and volunteers to provide over $33 million in free dental care to more than 53,000 patients and families. In fact, this program has been so successful that 30 other states have implemented similar models.”

Read the full press release.

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National News

Build a Culture of Health

Tim Size - The Cap Times

Health is about more than access to high-quality health care. The conditions that influence health in our workplaces, our schools, our communities are as important as access to health insurance, a doctor’s office, or a hospital.

This is what we learn from the annual release of the County Health Rankings, a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

Unlike Lake Wobegon, where all the children are above average, most rural counties rank below average in health status. I work for a cooperative of rural hospitals and clinics, and at first glance, you might think this data should make rural health care providers defensive. But as Paul Harvey liked to say, here is the “rest of the story.”

Read the full article.

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Learning Rural Medicine

By Scott Hunter - The Star

Grand Coulee is gaining a reputation among University of Washington students interested in rural medicine. Coulee Medical Center is among the smallest of a handful of facilities used by the university in its five-state area for a set of programs designed to introduce medical students to rural medicine.

"This is true rural medicine, where the doctors do it all," said Tara Olson. The third-year medical student has spent plenty of time at CMC, working her way through various components of the program that fall under the umbrella acronym of "WWAMI" - Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho Medical Education Program. UW is the only school training medical doctors in those five states.

Read the full article.

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Future of Rural Cancer Care

By the High Plains/Mid-West Ag Journal

For many rural Americans, access to quality cancer care in the future could be threatened as the growing demand for services outstrips the supply of oncologists and the cost of care continues to soar, according to a report issued by the American Society of Clinical Oncology and published online March 11 in the Journal of Oncology Practice via Medscape Medical News.

It is projected that the number of new cancer cases in the U.S. will increase by 42 percent by 2025. During the same period, the number of oncologists will increase by only 28 percent, which will lead to a projected shortage of 1487 oncologists. At the same time, cancer is slated to become the leading cause of death. And it is projected that the annual associated costs will rise from $104 billion in 2006 to more than $173 billion by 2020.

Although demands on oncologists will increase, many practices will be under great financial pressure, in part because of the sequester and recent cuts to Medicare physician payments.

Read the full article.

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Rural Publications

Do Rural Patients with Early-Stage Prostate Cancer Gain Access to All Treatment Choices?
This study compared rates of receipt of four definitive treatments for early stage prostate cancer in patients living in urban and rural counties in 10 states. In general, the findings indicate that rural early-stage prostate cancer patients were able to gain access to the full range of prostate cancer treatment options that were available. However, some geographic areas were identified where patients might require additional support to gain access to a full range of treatment services.  A more extensive report on this study was also created as a companion piece.  

Intersection of Rural Poverty and Federal Human Services Programs
Policy brief discusses the challenges faced by federal human services programs and how they address rural poverty by offering two case studies highlighting two different approaches to meeting those challenges.

Rural Implications of the Affordable Care Act Outreach, Education, and Enrollment
Policy brief outlines the opportunities for rural communities to benefit from the Affordable Care Act and discusses the importance of efforts aimed at furthering outreach, education and enrollment in rural areas.

Linking parent perceptions of children's weight to early coronary risk factors
Underestimating a child’s BMI is associated with coronary risk-related factors, while overestimating a child’s BMI is associate with a protective CVD marker. A follow-up study examining the development of CVD risk factors in children of parents who inaccurately estimate their BMI would help clarify this relationship. Knowledge of how parental perceptions directly influence higher lipid levels in children could have an impact on public health efforts in the fight against childhood obesity in rural environments.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010: Impacts on Rural People, Places, and Providers: A Second Look
Implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010 contributes to reshaping the health care delivery landscape, particularly in rural areas.Many of the provisions enacted in the ACA are just beginning to be fully implemented. As yet, their impact remains uncertain for rural communities and the providers that serve them. 

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Mark Your Calendar

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

May 6: The Rural Social Determinants of Health - webinar
May 7: Improving Health Care for Veterans Begins With You - webinar
May 12-16: Behavioral Health and Integration Training Institute - Radford
May 14: Advance Directives - webinar
May 15: The Many Resources of Easter Seals - webinar
May 21: Project REVIVE! - webinar
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

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Excellence in State Public Health Law: Virginia Status Report
Virginia’s objective for this project is to develop and evaluate a model process for evaluating and developing public health law and policy in the state.  In particular, to provide focus for the project, Virginia chose to promote reduction of chronic disease risk factors through increased physical activity and improved nutrition across Virginia’s population as a means to create a model policy evaluation and development process.  Effective engagement of key stakeholder organizations is critical to the success of this project.  

Provides access to more than 50 original documents and links on topics critical to those interested in rural health care, including:

Aging in Every Place: Supportive Service Programs for High and Low Density Communities
Identifies ways successful programs in rural places offer transportation to medical services, shopping and social activities, or bring various services to the homes of older adults who are unable to travel while keeping them in their homes as they age.

Realizing Rural Care Coordination: Considerations and Action Steps for State Policy-Makers
This brief draws from health initiatives undertaken in Alabama, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Vermont to identify common policy considerations and action steps for coordinating care in rural areas.

QuickStats: Percentage of Adults Aged >18 Years Who Have Lost All Their Natural Teeth
Chart showing the percent of adults with no natural teeth in nonmetropolitan areas compared to metropolitan areas, broken down by age group, based on data from the 2010-2012 National Health Interview Survey.

State Funded Housing Assistance Programs
A resource that provides the various options states in rural and urban areas implement to support people with disabilities and mental illness within integrated settings. 


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Funding Opportunities

Regional Partnership Grants to Increase the Well-Being of, and to Improve the Permanency Outcomes for, Children Affected by Substance Abuse
Application deadline: Jun 10, 2014
Funding for collaborative regional partnerships that provide activities and services designed to increase the well-being, improve permanency outcomes, and enhance the safety of children and families experiencing substance use disorders.
Sponsor: Administration for Children and Families

National Health Service Corps Recruitment and Retention Assistance
Application deadline: Jun 16, 2014
Provides recruitment and retention assistance to healthcare facilities located in a Health Professional Shortage Area.
Sponsor: National Health Service Corps

Healthy Environments
Application deadline: Applications accepted on an ongoing basis.
Funding to improve the health and well being of vulnerable children from low-income families by making the places they live, learn, and play safe and supportive of overall good health.
Sponsor: Kresge Foundation

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