VRHA Weekly Update
In this Issue  June 8, 2015

VRHA News Virginia News National News Mark your calendar
Funding Opportunities


Newsletter available






The first speaker at the VRHA Annual Conference will be Gina Capra - Director, Office of Rural Health; Veterans Health Administration

As the Director of Rural Health for VHA, Ms. Capra promotes increased access to quality health care services for Veterans in rural and highly rural locations. She manages an annual budget for funding awards to partnering VISNs, Medical Centers and national program offices to explore innovative projects intended to reduce barriers to care for rural Veterans and their providers via the use of technology, targeted training and evaluation methods.
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Annual Conference
October 13 & 14

The ORH Veterans Rural Health Resource Centers (VRHRC), based in Florida, Iowa and Utah, provide technical assistance and expertise in specialized rural health issues. A national cadre of Rural Consultants (VRCs) located in each VISN provide regional coordination and rural project support. ORH serves as the lead VHA coordinator for the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Indian Health Service (IHS). The MOU supports inter-agency collaborative efforts to serve Native American/Alaska Native Veterans in their tribal and/or rural communities. ORH also staffs the Veterans Rural Health Advisory Committee (VRHAC) consisting of 16-members appointed by the Secretary to provide recommendations on issues pertaining to rural Veterans.

Read more about Ms. Capra then click the conference logo for additional event information.

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Telehealth Webinars

VRHA has partnered with WeCounsel to offer you a 3-part webinar series on telehealth.  This series will provide a high level understanding of what it takes to effectively implement a successful telehealth program.

  • June 23: will highlight reimbursement policies for the state of Virginia in regards to telehealth. Getting paid is critical to any successful telehealth program.  Join us as we discuss the reimbursement landscape for Medicare/Medicaid and private payers in regards to telehealth, and how telehealth can be a successful revenue stream for your practice. 
  • July 20: will outline effective use cases and how to develop an effective business model for a Telehealth initiative. This webinar will cover exactly how to plan, develop and implement a successful telehealth initiative. 

The webinars are free to all Virginia rural health stakeholders, regardless of VRHA membership status - so feel free to pass this information along!

Visit the VRHA webinar page for details, registration and an archive of the May 19th presentation on regulations.

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VRHA Presents!

VRHA Executive Director Beth O'Connor and VRHA member Dr. Adrienne McFadden will be featured speakers at the upcoming USDA Office of Rural Development is hosting the Public Private Partnership Multistate Meeting.

The focus of this three-day meeting will be on public-private partnerships for rural communities. Day one will focus on issues related to healthcare and Beth O'Connor and Dr. McFadden will be discussing concerns and trends related to rural healthcare from state and national perspectives.

Registration for the event is limited - reserve your seat today!

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Virginia News

Join the Walk!

A bipartisan grassroots movement to petition Congress, state legislatures, and Governors to pass measures to ensure the sustainability of rural hospitals in America. The Walk began on June 1, 2015 in Belhaven, North Carolina and end on June 15, 2015 on the US Senate lawn in Washington, DC. This is a 14 day, 283 mile walk, each mile representing the 283 rural hospital in danger of closure, from Belhaven, North Carolina to Washington, DC. The Walk will be led by Civic Rights Legend Bob Zellner and Belhaven Mayor Adam O’Neal.

The Walk is expected to be in Virginia late this week.  Walk along and read more about The Walk.

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Stop Demonizing Medicaid

By Michael Martz - Richmond Times-Dispatch

Virginia hospital executives on Thursday publicly voiced their dismay with the General Assembly over its refusal to expand the state’s Medicaid program and take advantage of billions of dollars in federal funds to pay for care of uninsured patients.

“Stop demonizing Medicaid,” urged John Fitzgerald, CEO of Inova Fair Oaks Hospital, to applause during a panel discussion by executives at the Virginia Chamber of Commerce’s annual health care conference.

The issue arose the same day the White House Council of Economic Advisers issued an annual report that estimated an additional 179,000 Virginians would receive insurance coverage next year if the state expanded its Medicaid program under the law.

Del. R. Steven Landes, R-Augusta, one of the leading opponents of Medicaid expansion, said hospital executives should focus on other solutions to challenges facing the health care system.

Read the full article.

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Take the Survey!

ETSU's Health Working Group - part of the Appalachia Funders Network - is conducting a survey to shed light on current work, gaps in services, and opportunities to improve health outcomes. 

In trade for 10-15 minutes of your time, you will have the option of receiving a research report of relevant study findings and will be entered into a drawing for a FitBit.

Take the survey!

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National News

Action Alert

Lifeline Modernization Principles Sign-On Letter – Deadline to sign is June 9
The federal low-income assistance program for affordable voice service, Lifeline, is on the verge of a “reboot” to provide affordable broadband service to bring it into the 21st Century. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is expected to vote out a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the modernization of the Lifeline program. Lifeline is the last of the 4 Universal Service Programs to move to broadband access. Lifeline promotes universal service by addressing the affordability barrier to communication services faced by low-income households.
Action:  Please sign your organization onto the letter to the FCC about the urgent need to modernize Lifeline and guiding principles for the modernization. 

This letter is being coordinated by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (the contacts at the end of the letter) and will be sent to the FCC on June 10, to build momentum and support to kick start the Lifeline proceeding.

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Hospitals Provide a Pulse

Beatrice, Nebraska is an isolated rural community that has lost a lot of the energy of its heyday, when shoppers roamed downtown sidewalks, freight trains rumbled past the Big Blue River, and streets clogged at quitting time as factory workers spilled out of their plants.

But it has yet to lose its economic pulse, thanks in large measure to the Beatrice Community Hospital and Health Center, housed in a sprawling new building of concrete and green glimmering windows on the outskirts of town. The hospital has become an economic anchor for the area.

Once home to vibrant downtowns, along with thriving local manufacturers and merchants, small towns were traditionally strongholds of the American middle class. In recent decades, many barely managed to hold on as young people migrated to cities and those who stayed behind had trouble even finding work. Now, however, those towns that have been able to attract hospitals and other health care facilities have emerged as oases of economic stability across the nation’s heartland.

Read the full article.

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Rural Veterans


For rural veteran Mickey Ireson, appointments at the Department of Veterans Affairs are a source of apprehension and stress, rather than relief. In early April, the former Marine infantryman received a call from the VA telling him that his evaluations for mental health and dental work had been scheduled at the Omaha, Nebraska, office. Ireson lives three hours away in Hastings.

Initially scheduled for three separate days, Ireson was able to have the appointments moved to one day, but that meant six hours worth of driving, and several hours of meetings with physicians and caregivers. For Ireson, who is employed and going to college on the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill, lengthy travel time can mean a day behind in class, or a day’s worth of wages lost. In addition, Ireson has trouble being on the road for several hours at a time, and the frustration that comes with hunting for parking in a crowded lot, and long wait times once he arrives, only makes him more agitated and apprehensive about the VA.

Read the full article.

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Remote ICU

By Michael Tomsic - NPR

Recovering from pneumonia is an unusual experience in the 10-bed intensive care unit at the Carolinas HealthCare System hospital in rural Lincolnton, N.C. One of the screens in Richard Gilbert's hospital room is a TV. The other is an eICU screen, which lets him see and converse with an extra nurse who checks on his care.

The small hospital has its regular staff, but Richard Gilbert, one of the ICU patients, has an extra nurse who is 45 miles away. That nurse, Cassie Gregor, sits in front of six computer screens in an office building. She wears a headset and comes into Gilbert's room via a computer screen.

Carolinas HealthCare started this project about two years ago and says it's good for staff and patients. For one thing, because medical staff at the command center can maintain a constant focus on patients, the command center is quiet — none of the bells and whistles going off that most ICUs need to alert nurses and doctors down the hall that they're needed. Among the 10 hospitals in the program, ICU mortality is down 5 percent and length of stay is down 6 percent.

Read the full article.

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Mark Your Calendar

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

June 23: Telehealth Reimbursement Policies - webinar
June 24: What Research Infrastructure Do We Need to Reduce Suicidal Behavior - webinar
July 15-17: Rural Quality & Clinical Conference - Minneapolis, MN
July 20: Effective Business Models for Telehealth - webinar
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

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Virginia Chronic Disease & Health Promotion Collaborative
Works to allign the goals and activities of internal and external stakeholders in order to achieve better health outcomes. Vist the website to see partners are doing, and learn about successful projects that can be replicated in your community.

New Map on Community Health Worker Models
This new NASHP map and chart makes it easy for you to find information about various activities related to CHWs in the states

National Center for Health Workforce Analysis
These fact sheets provide information on the national projections of supply and demand for specific disciplines from 2012 to 2025. 

Data for Health – Learning What Works
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWFJ) has released a new 81-page report, Data for Health, focusing on the growing national health data. 

Rural Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Toolkit  
This new toolkit provides an overview of the importance of health promotion and disease prevention in rural communities. Find resources to help your community develop a health promotion program, building on the best practices of others. 


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Funding Opportunities

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

Teen Pregnancy Programs
The Competitive Abstinence Education Grant Program is providing funding to address the rates of teen pregnancy among adolescent youth. Programs should focus on the social, psychological, and health gains to be realized by delaying initiation of sexual activity and engaging in healthy relationships. Programs will be expected to develop a targeted and medically accurate approach to reducing teen pregnancies through abstinence education. The application deadline is June 24, 2015.

Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation: Quality of Life Grant Program
The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation is dedicated to curing spinal cord injury by funding innovative research, and to improving the quality of life for people living with paralysis. The Foundation’s Quality of Life Grant Program supports nonprofit organizations in the United States that provide services to individuals with paralysis, with some emphasis on paralysis caused by spinal cord injuries. Grants of up to $25,000 are provided to larger organizations that represent and protect individuals with disabilities on a national level as well as local groups that have an immediate and practical impact on individual lives. The Foundation gives special consideration to organizations that serve returning wounded military and their families, and to those that provide targeted services to diverse cultural communities. Priority will be given to organizations that have not yet received Reeve Foundation Quality of Life funding. The upcoming application deadline is August 3, 2015. 

Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI)
Application deadline: Aug 13, 2015
Provides funding to help non-profit housing and community development organizations support housing, community facilities, and community and economic development projects in rural areas.

Foundation for Rural Service Grant Program
Application deadline: Oct 1, 2015
Provides grants for rural communities in the areas of business development, community development, education, and telecommunications.

Finish Line Youth Foundation
The Finish Line Youth Foundation strives to make a difference in the lives of youth in the communities (incudes Virginia) where company employees and customers live by supporting youth development and active lifestyle programs. Grants of $1,000 to $5,000 are provided to nonprofit organizations that provide opportunities for youth participation in the following areas: 1) youth athletic programs, with emphasis on community-based programs addressing active lifestyles and team building skills; and 2) established camps that focus on sports and active lifestyles, with emphasis on programs serving disadvantaged and special needs kids. Program support and scholarship funding are provided. Requests are reviewed quarterly; the remaining deadlines for 2015 are June 30, September 30, and December 31. Visit the company’s website to take the online Eligibility Quiz.

RWJF National Leadership Program Center: 2015 Call for Proposals
Deadline: July 29
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) is developing four new boundary-spanning leadership programs that reflect their vision to work with others to build a national Culture of Health. This solicitation invites eligible applicants to serve as a national leadership program center for one or more of RWJF’s new leadership programs.

Advancing Health Disparities Interventions through Community-Based Participatory Research (U01)
Letter of Intent (optional, but strongly encouraged): Jul 3, 2015
Application deadline: Aug 3, 2015
Award ceiling: estimated $500,000
The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities awards funding for research on approaches to addressing health disparities and community engagement strategies in addressing health disparities in socially disadvantaged populations groups. These groups include Blacks/African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders, socioeconomically disadvantaged populations, and rural populations.

CATCH Planning, Implementation, and Resident Grants
Proposals due: July 31, 2015
Award ceiling: $10,000
The American Academy of Pediatrics funds the Community Access to Child Health (CATCH) Planning and Implementation Funds programs which support pediatricians in the initial and/or pilot stage of planning or implementing a community-based child health initiative. The program is designed to help increase children’s access to a medical home or specific health services not otherwise available.

Healthy Smiles, Healthy Children Access to Care Grants
Application deadline: Aug 3, 2015
Award ceiling: $20,000 per year
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry offers matching grants to support community-based initiatives that provide dental homes to children whose families cannot afford dental care. 

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