VRHA Weekly Update
In this Issue May 12, 2014

VRHA News Virginia News National News Mark your calendar
Funding Opportunities


May is Mental Health Month





Poster Applications Being Accepted

VRHA is now accepting applications for Poster Presentations at the 2014 conference. A maxium of 14 applications will be approved for display and presentation.

Posters will be on display December 11 with presentations made from 3:30-5:00 that day.  

Poster Presentations provide participants with the ideal opportunity to disseminate information to other rural health stakeholders. Poster Presentations may include research projects, case studies, clinical evaluations, case presentations, observations, unusual or uncommon situations and other topics as they relate to rural health.  Both students and professionals are encouraged to submit applications for consideration.

Submission information and general instructions: 

  1. Incomplete submissions will not be reviewed by the planning committee. 
  2. Submission deadline is October 3, 2014. Notifications of acceptance will be e-mailed out by October 31. 
  3. Presenters may not use posters to market products or services; exhibit space is available for that purpose. 
  4. If accepted, presenters must register for the conference.  In addition, no honoraria or travel expense reimbursement will be provided.  Presenters will have the option of registering for a single day instead of the full event.
  5. The presenter is responsible for having the poster printed and bringing a display easel to the event.

Click here to submit a poster presentation application.  Membership in VRHA is not required to submit a presentation for consideration.

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Members in the News

J.F. McMillan - Page News and Courier

[VRHA member] Page Memorial Hospital (PMH) held its official dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony Monday morning for its new $37 million facility adjacent to the original hospital, which was founded in 1925.
Beneath the new glass overhang that will officially welcome patients on Saturday, May 3, speakers embraced the efforts to conceive and build the 25-bed critical access hospital.
The new PMH, serving Virginia's Northern Shenandoah Valley, is the sixth hospital of the Valley Health Network with headquarters at the Winchester Medical Center.
Read the full article.

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Webinar Schedule

Visit the webinar page for full descriptions as well as slides and recordings of previous webinars.

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Virginia News

Impasse Over Expansion

By Jim Nolan - Richmond Times-Dispatch

House and Senate Republican leadership opposed to Medicaid expansion urged resolution on the state budget impasse Monday. Gov. Terry McAuliffe stressed compromise and vowed that he would not let the government shut down.

Republicans accused Democrats favoring expansion of being “reckless and irresponsible” by being willing to extend negotiations beyond the end of the fiscal year in an attempt to get their way.

“You can’t be the fiscal future of the commonwealth on an IOU” from the federal government, House Speaker Bill Howell, R-Stafford County, said during a conference call with reporters. He was referring to the federal promise of funding nearly all of the cost for expanding Medicaid to 400,000 uninsured working poor in the commonwealth.

Senate Democrats and McAuliffe maintain that expanding coverage is vital to ensure the fiscal stability of hospital systems that provide indigent care.

Read the full article and a related article from the Washington Post.

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Mental Health Admissions

By Scott MacFarlane - News4

Virginia state mental health hospitals are grappling with a spike in admissions of emergency patients. The number of “temporary detention orders,” in which judges order patients hospitalized, has swelled 23 percent statewide this year.

The increase is happening amid large scale changes in Virginia’s mental health system and is creating new pressure for local mental health hospitals, which are experiencing increasing backlogs and bed shortages.

Read the full article.

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Healthy Franklin County

By Nancy Bell - Roanoke Times

Franklin County’s nonprofit leaders are coming together to form Healthy Franklin County, which will tackle obesity and other health concerns on a community-wide scale.

Led by the United Way of Franklin County and the Franklin County Family YMCA, Healthy Franklin County will bring together municipal, nonprofit and business interests to create strategies and programs for better health. The county’s obesity rates are higher than the state average, according to a recent health needs assessment compiled by Carilion Clinic and [VRHA member] Carilion Franklin Memorial Hospital.

Read the full article.

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National News

Addressing Disparities

By Alan Morgan - America's Health Rankings

There is a powerful link between social factors and health. Rural multicultural and multiracial populations face a combination of factors that create disparities in health care that are not always found in urban areas. Economic factors, cultural and social differences, educational shortcomings, the challenges of developing a national strategy to deal with these issues, and the sheer isolation of living in remote rural areas all conspire to impede rural Americans in their struggle to lead a normal, healthy life.

Living in a rural area is in itself a health risk factor that can adversely influence health; therefore, minorities living in rural areas face the double burden of health risk factors based on rural residence and health disparities. Attention to rural racial and ethnic disparities in care has increased among policymakers. However, efforts to develop a national strategy to address these health disparities has proven difficult because of the many factors driving this public health problem.

Read the full article.

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3RNet Success

By the Rural Assistance Center

3RNet members have totaled how many health professionals they were able to place in rural or underserved communities over the last year, and the results are impressive.

3RNet is a national nonprofit network that works through its 53 members to help rural and underserved areas find health care professionals looking for jobs. Members recently completed a survey to help the organization compile how many professionals were placed in communities through their efforts. From October 2012 through September 2013, 3RNet members were able to refer candidates to health care facilities 290,557 times and they successfully placed 1,619 health professionals in rural or underserved communities across the country.

Read the full article.

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Regional Models

By Mark C. Clement - Rochester Business Journal

For about 60 million Americans—nearly one in five—who live in rural areas, access to health care services is becoming increasingly difficult. Many rural facilities face a growing threat to their very existence as they attempt to deal with challenges presented by their remote locations, declining population, aging facilities, rising chronic diseases, growing workforce shortages and dramatic declines in government payments. And while health care reform is placing significant financial and operational pressures on all health care providers, stand-alone rural hospitals are hit particularly hard.

After World War II, Congress passed the Hill-Burton Act in 1946 to provide grants and loans for construction and modernization of U.S. health facilities. In return, these facilities agreed to provide reasonable services to people unable to pay and to make their services available to residents of their service areas. As a result, rural communities gained ready access to hospital facilities that could provide the health care they needed. These rural hospitals thrived through the 1970s.

However, in recent decades, innovations in fields of specialty care such as cardiology, neurology and orthopedics have shifted care to outpatient facilities and transformed hospitals into large intensive care units. As a result, rural hospital volumes gradually declined as patients sought specialized care not available in their own communities.

Read the full article.

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NRHA Opportunities

Apply to become a Rural Health Fellow
NRHA’s Rural Health Fellows program is a yearlong program that develops leaders who can articulate a clear and compelling vision for rural America.

Each year, NRHA selects 10 to 15 highly motivated individuals who have proven their dedication to improving the health of rural Americans through their educational or professional experience.

Applications are now being accepted.

NRHA internships prove valuable to students

Did you know NRHA offers internships?

Jeslin Jose says her NRHA internship was invaluable. Because of NRHA's range of activities and programs, since 2005, its internships have allowed students to pursue a project in an area of interest to them while participating in the overall NRHA experience.

NRHA offers internships every semester and works with students to meet their internship requirements. Apply for and/or share this opportunity today.

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Mark Your Calendar

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

May 14: Advance Directives - webinar
May 15: 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 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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CMS Data Navigator
An easy-to-use, menu-driven search tool that makes the data and information resources of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) more easily available. Use the Data Navigator to find data and information products for specific CMS programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, or on specific health care topics or settings-of-care. Navigator displays search results by data type making it easier to locate specific types of information (e.g., data files, publications, statistical reports, etc.).

National Women’s Health Week 
Celebrate National Women’s Health Week with HRSA May 11-17, 2014.  This week long observance is led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  The goal is to empower women to make health a priority.  More than 28 million women 18 and older live in rural or frontier America who need access to quality health care services.  All women in rural and frontier areas are affected by access issues, specifically lack of primary and specialty care services.  National Women’s Health Week also serves as a time to help woman understand what it means to be well and the steps they can take to maintain a healthier lifestyle.  

USDA Rural Housing Programs
Extended eligibility for USDA Rural Housing programs through the 2020 Census and increased the population limit from 25,000 to 35,000. All new communities that fall under the revised definition are now officially eligible. This means that low-income families living in these communities now have access to USDA Rural Housing loans, grants, and other assistance.To find out whether your community is eligible under the revised definition, check out NRHC's easy-to-use Rural Definition Guide or USDA's Eligibility Maps.

FrameWorks Institute
In celebration of its fifteenth anniversary, the FrameWorks Institute has reorganized its voluminous research on how Americans think about social issues, resulting in a state-of-the-art clickable universe of multi-media research and reframing tools. Frameworksinstitute.org has been built with responsive design so that you can access it on your phone or tablet and the size and layout of the page adjusts to your actions. Policy leaders and scientists with whom FrameWorks has worked over the years tell their reframing stories in a new Impact Video.  

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Funding Opportunities

Virginia State Loan Repayment Program
Deadline:July 15, 2014
A federally-funded program managed by the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), Office of Minority Health and Health Equity (OMHHE) that offers repayment assistance of educational loans in exchange for service in a Health Professional Shortage Area in Virginia.
A wide variety of health care professionals are eligible to apply for VA-SLRP, including primary care physicians in a variety of disciplines, physician assistants, general and pediatric dentists, dental hygienists, nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, registered nurses, psychologists, licensed clinical social workers, licensed professional counselors, marriage and family therapists and pharmacists. 

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Unsolicited Proposals
Deadline:  Applications accepted on an ongoing basis.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Pioneer Portfolio accepts unsolicited proposals for projects that pursue innovative approaches to solving problems in health and health care.

Rural Community Facility Financing Available through USDA Rural Development
Deadline: Applications accepted on an ongoing basis
The Community Facilities Direct and Guaranteed Loans Program provides support to develop essential community facilities for public use in rural areas. Loan funds may be used to construct, enlarge, or improve community facilities.

Community Facility Grants through USDA Rural Development
Deadline: Applications accepted on an ongoing basis.
Grants are available to assist in the development of essential community facilities in rural areas and towns of up to 20,000 in population.

Tellabs Foundation Health Grants
Funding to support local and national initiatives that look to improve the health of the nation through research, education and treatment, primarily working with hospitals and healthcare facilities.

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Virginia Rural Health Association
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Blacksburg, VA 24060

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