VRHA Weekly Update
In this Issue  June 12, 2017

VRHA News Virginia News National News Mark your calendar
Funding Opportunities


June Newsletter






Congratulations to Shannen McGinley and Rachel Horn!  They have been selected as student representatives to the VRHA Board of Directors for the 2017-2018 academic year.

Both Ms. McGinley and Ms. Horn are students at the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM).  Ms. McGinley is entering her third year at VCOM and is the outgoing President of the VRHA VCOM student club, while Ms. Horn is entering her second year at VCOM and is the incoming President of the VCOM student club.

For a full list of VRHA Board members, please visit the VRHA website.

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Members in the News

From the American Hospital Association

Hospitals and health systems participating in a Virginia collaborative to reduce early elective deliveries, which can increase health complications for babies, reduced non-medically necessary deliveries before 39 weeks of gestation from 8% to 1.3% over the past four years, [VRHA member] Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association announced.

“Through this collaborative effort, Virginia went from being middle-of-the-pack among states on early elective delivery rate to the lowest in the country,” noted VHHA President and CEO Sean Connaughton. In 2012, the AHA Board of Trustees adopted a formal position supporting policies to eliminate early-term, non-medically necessary deliveries. Hospitals participating in the AHA/Health Research & Educational Trust Hospital Engagement Network reduced early elective deliveries by 61% between December 2011 and December 2014, and 44% in 2015 and 2016.

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More Members in the News

By Stephanie Klein-Davis - Roanoke Times

[VRHA member] Roy Greenberg knew from early childhood that he wanted to be a physician, but it wasn’t until he began applying to medical schools that he became intrigued by osteopathy.

“I didn’t really know necessarily what the difference was between an M.D. and a D.O.,” he said. But then he shadowed a neonatologist and learned about osteopathic manipulative treatment, a technique DOs use to diagnose with their hands.

Read the full article.

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Virginia News

Rural Medicaid

By Dan Heyman - Public News Service

A new report shows Medicaid is ensuring that rural Virginia children have access to the care they need to stay healthy.  According to the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, Medicaid or FAMIS – the state's children's health program – covers 44 percent of children living in rural Virginia.  That's compared with a quarter of children in metro areas.
Ashley Everette, a health policy analyst at Voices for Virginia's Children, says the proportion is even higher in the southwestern part of the state.  Everette stresses that recent progress in covering Virginia children means 19 out of 20 now have health care access.
"Specifically for Southwest Virginia, in Virginia's 9th congressional district, 8 out of 10 kids rely on Medicaid or FAMIS," she points out.

But the health care legislation passed by the U.S. House would cut the Medicaid budget by a quarter over 10 years, and President Donald Trump's proposed budget would trim even more.  Its proponents say their plan would give states more flexibility in how they cover lower-income residents.

Read the full article and a related story from the Daily Press.

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ACHA and Older Adults

By Laura Goren and Lisa Salita - Commonwealth Institute

As we wait to hear details about the Senate’s healthcare bill, we can assess the impact that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has had on people in Virginia, and which groups or communities are likely to experience the greatest changes if a version of the House’s American Health Care Act (AHCA) moves forward. There’s a common denominator among those who are likely to be harmed: they will be the ones who benefited most from the ACA over the past eight years. Older adults, both those in the 55-65 and in the 65+ brackets, will be hit hard by proposed replacements to the ACA.

Over 100,000 older adults in Virginia signed up for health insurance through the ACA Marketplace, and many would no longer be able to afford health insurance if the AHCA is passed. Even those who could still afford coverage, including many who have employer-sponsored insurance, would see their costs go up and their coverage limited. They’d be at risk of losing everything they’ve worked for near the end of their working careers if they are hit with high medical bills.

Read the full article.

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Close to Home

By Max Blau - PBS Newshour

In the southeast corner of Tennessee, one rural hospital has fallen into such dire financial straits it suspended inpatient services earlier this month. Now, the new CEO of the Copper Basin Medical Center has launched a GoFundMe campaign to save the hospital.

The campaign seeks to raise just $100,000. That’s just a fraction of its debt — and it’s nothing in the world of online crowdfunding; the team behind an extra-heavy blanket marketed as a treatment for anxiety recently raised more than $3.5 million. But so far, the tiny hospital in the Appalachian foothills has brought in just $845.

Read the full article and related article by Huffington Post.

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National News

Hurting Hospitals

From the Houston Chronicle 

Hospitals have for years been struggling to balance their budgets while continuing to absorb rapidly escalating costs despite cuts in public funding and insurance reimbursements. The biggest shortfall is in caring for uninsured patients. Medicaid and uncompensated care reimbursements cover only 66.7 cents for every dollar Texas hospitals spend on Medicaid patients, according to a report by the Texas Department of Health and Human Services.

The budget stress diminished as more patients gained insurance under the ACA, but its replacement, the American Health Care Act, which passed the U.S. House last month, will throw millions back onto the rolls of the uninsured and cut $834 billion from Medicaid over 10 years. The Trump administration's proposed budget would slice another $610 billion, and the 85th session of the Texas Legislature cut $1 billion in state Medicaid funding.

These cuts will be difficult for big-city charity hospitals like Ben Taub, but for small rural communities, they would be catastrophic. The rate at which these hospitals have been shutting their doors has escalated dramatically over the past decade, according to research from iVantage Health Analytics, and Texas leads the pack. Since 2013, 16 of our rural hospitals have closed. Of the 163 remaining, about one-third are vulnerable to closure. Add the Trump administration's proposal to eliminate several programs designed specifically to help rural hospitals - on top of fewer insured patients under the AHCA - and the hospital closures will escalate. 

Read the full article and click here for a related article about school-based health centers.

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Alzheimer's Onslaught

Jessica Wapner - Newsweek

For June, living in rural America means endless hours alone with a husband who is increasingly unable to take care of himself. Their rhubarb and curly willow crops are gone. Family members rarely show up unannounced anymore. Their children have moved away. It is enough to make anyone angry with God. For many people, caring for someone with dementia in rural America is a version of hell. 

In rural areas, the rising proportion of older Americans means an accompanying rise in people with dementia. And these counties do not have the money, the professionals or the services to address the coming tidal wave of cognitive decline. Distance, poverty and lack of access to health care providers make it increasingly difficult for caregivers to help those with dementia. As a result, they carry a heavier load, with the psychological isolation compounded by a physical one. Unable to cope, family members often move their loved ones to long-term facilities. The cost of formal aid for dementia is estimated at $259 billion per year in the U.S.

But New York has a radical plan to save the caregivers by helping them take a break. Or have a shower. Or run errands. Or maybe just nap. The state has dedicated $62.5 million over five years to support caregivers. And New York is not alone in its epiphany. Such state-funded programs have cropped up across the country, particularly in rural states, such as North Dakota, Minnesota and North Carolina. Together, these initiatives could save billions of dollars. And they could make life bearable again for people like June Aman.

Read the full article.

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Mental Health Shortage

By Jennifer Moore - KSMU

Until a few years ago, Addie Blankenship saw herself as a relatively healthy mom of three. She didn’t recognize that she was exhibiting symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder—a mental condition that leads to obsessive thoughts and compulsive actions. Her mother, a nurse, took her to the Emergency Department in a Springfield hospital.

A doctor there told her he thought she had OCD, but that she’d need a psychiatric evaluation. The first opening was in two weeks. After the psych evaluation, she had to wait two more weeks for the results, she said.  At that point, she says she was begging God to take her life.

Read the full article.

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USDA Changes

By Tay Wiles - High Country News

In a congressional hearing earlier this month, the new Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, was asked why he had eliminated the undersecretary for Rural Development. The undersecretary oversees a $216 billion portfolio and 47 state offices that serve rural Americans on a wide range of vital issues from water access to housing. Perdue said he is getting rid of the position not because those issues are unimportant, but because he wants to elevate the office to greater prominence with direct access to the head of USDA, himself: “I’m just curious enough and jealous enough I want to be involved (personally in the Rural Development office),” he said, smiling. Many rural advocates, though, say the reorganization is more a demotion than an elevation and could leave rural communities in the lurch.
The change is part of Perdue’s way of “improving efficiency, effectiveness and accountability,” according to the USDA’s May report on his broader reorganization of the Department. (Former Undersecretary Lisa Mensah is now CEO of a national nonprofit that helps disadvantaged communities access capital and loans.) It’s unclear what exact impacts this piece of the restructure will have: Rural Development staffers will now report to an assistant secretary within Perdue’s office. But for a president elected by over 65 percent of voters in rural areas, his administration’s apparent downgrade of the only federal office specifically dedicated to those communities seems ironic at best.

Read the full article and related article from the Daily Yonder.

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Mark Your Calendar

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

June 13:Achieving Rural Health Equity and Well-being: Challenges and Opportunities - webinar
June 21: Responding to Natural Disasters in Rural Communities  - webinar
August 16: A Focus on Suicide Prevention in Rural Communities  - webinar
October 25 & 26: Virginia Rural Providers Conference - South Boston, VA

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EMS Grant Writing 101 Institute
This 3-part webinar series introduces EMS agencies to the basics of grant writing, how to connect with funders and partners, and where to find funding. NOSORH will also provide templates to help agencies get started with the writing process. The series begins on July 11 and will be held on three consecutive Tuesdays at 3:00 pm ET.  Registration ends June 30.

Rural Prevention and Treatment of Substance Abuse Toolkit
This new toolkit, developed by the NORC Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis, provides information, strategies, and resources to help rural communities implement substance abuse prevention and treatment programs. Browse program models and examples, and learn how to implement, evaluate, and sustain a program in your community and disseminate program results.

Disability Counts Data Finder
An online tool that allows users to easily access disability data for every county in the United States and Puerto Rico. Using a simple interface, users select their state and counties of interest, and generate a table with population estimates, disability rates, margins of error, and rural/urban classifications.
HPV Vaccine Safety
Information for physicians, nurses, and pharmacists.

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Funding Opportunities

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

American Academy of Pediatrics: Community Access to Child Health Program
The Community Access to Child Health (CATCH) Program, a national initiative of the American Academy of Pediatrics, is designed to improve access to healthcare by supporting pediatricians who are involved in community-based efforts to enhance the health of children. CATCH Planning and Implementation Grants of up to $10,000 are awarded to pediatricians and fellowship trainees to plan innovative community-based child health programs that will ensure all children have medical homes, are properly immunized, and have access to healthcare services not otherwise available in their community. (Grants of up to $2,000 are awarded to pediatric residents addressing the same issues.)
The application period will close on July 31, 2017. 

Gannett Foundation: Community Action Grant Program
The Gannett Foundation provides support to nonprofit organizations that serve the communities where Gannett Co., Inc., owns a newspaper or broadcast station (Virginia = Staunton). The Foundation’s Community Action Grant Program’s priorities include education and neighborhood improvement, economic development, youth development, community problem-solving, assistance to disadvantaged people, environmental conservation, and cultural enrichment. Grants are generally in the $1,000 to $5,000 range.
Grant requests are considered twice each year; the upcoming postmark deadline is August 29, 2017, for most locations.

Department of Agriculture
The Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grants program supports access to education, training, and healthcare resources for rural Americans through the use of telecommunications services.
The application deadline is July 17, 2017.

First Responders - Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act Cooperative Agreement
Grants to allow first responders and members of other key community sectors to administer a drug or device approved or cleared under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act for emergency treatment of known or suspected opioid overdose.
Application Deadline: Jul 31, 2017 

Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation: Quality of Life Grants
The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation is dedicated to curing spinal cord injury by funding innovative research, and improving the quality of life for people living with paralysis through grants, information, and advocacy. The Quality of Life Grants program provides funding of up to $25,000 to nonprofit organizations that mirror the Foundation’s mission by providing programs and services for individuals with paralysis (caused by spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, cerebral palsy, ALS, spina bifida, multiple sclerosis, and other conditions) and their families and caregivers that foster independence, inclusion, and engagement in the community. Grants are provided in three thematic areas: Actively Achieving projects provide individuals with disabilities opportunities to participate in activities that engage their bodies and minds, including sports, arts, recreation, and education and employment initiatives. Bridging Barriers projects address and offer solutions to barriers for independent living across the disability community. Caring and Coping projects provide services that address the complex day-to-day health and personal issues for individuals living with disabilities, their families, and caregivers. Nonprofit organizations, municipal and state governments, school districts, recognized tribal entities, and other institutions such as community or veterans hospitals are eligible to apply.
The application submission period opens on July 1, with a deadline of August 15, 2017. 

Community Facilities Technical Assistance and Training Grant
Grants to intermediary organizations to provide technical assistance and training for rural organizations and agencies to identify and plan for community facility needs that exist in their area, and once those needs have been identified, locating public and private resources to finance those identified needs.
Application Deadline: Jul 24, 2017 

Walmart Foundation State Giving Program
The Walmart Foundation State Giving Program awards grants to nonprofit organizations throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico for programs that give individuals access to a better life. There are three funding cycles per year; the first two funding cycles are targeted to specific states. For the final funding cycle of the year, requests are accepted from organizations nationwide in the following categories: Hunger Relief supports programs such as food pantries, backpack programs, and SNAP outreach. Community Engagement supports other programs that focus on the unmet needs of underserved low-income populations. Examples of eligible programs include career opportunity, disaster preparedness, education programs, healthcare access, shelters, etc. Grants range from $25,000 to $250,000; the average grant size is $40,000. Applications for the final funding cycle will be accepted from August 7 through August 11, 2017.

Lowe's Charitable and Educational Foundation: Community Partners
The Lowe's Charitable and Educational Foundation is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life in the communities where Lowe's operates stores and distribution centers throughout the United States. The Foundation’s Community Partners grant program supports nonprofit organizations and local municipalities undertaking high-need projects such as building renovations and upgrades, grounds improvements, technology upgrades, and safety improvements. Grants range from $2,001 to $100,000.
Applications for the fall funding cycle will be accepted from July 3 to August 25, 2017.

Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program Grants
Provides grants to improve telemedicine services and distance learning services in rural areas through the use of telemedicine, computer networks, and related advanced technologies.
Application Deadline: Jul 17, 2017 

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