VRHA Weekly Update
In this Issue February 20, 2017

VRHA News Virginia News National News Mark your calendar
Funding Opportunities


Newsletter available





Members in the News

VRHA member Peggy Whitehead was honored by the Virginia General Assembly for her 25-year career with the Blue Ridge Medical Center. The Senate Resolution can be read here

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More Members in the News

By Mike Tripp - News Leader

The arms reminded Dr. Brian Stisser of the robotic sentinels in the movie, “The Matrix.”
The comment came with a hearty laugh, before he highlighted the flexibility and adaptability of the da Vinci Xi Surgical System’s range of motion.

It was back in October, he performed the first robotic surgery at [VRHA memer] Augusta Health. A urologist with Blue Ridge Urological, he manned the surgeon’s console and set those arms in motion.

“The robot itself is actually more like a puppet,” the surgeon said. “It doesn’t really have any independent thought.”

Read the full article and related articles from WHSV.

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Even More Members in the News

From mHealth Intelligence

Boosted by the remote patient monitoring industry and provider acceptance of digital health devices in the home, shipments of remote monitoring wearables are expected to increase by more than 400 percent by 2021.

“By enabling a physical examination that virtually replicates an in-person visit, TytoCare will greatly enhance the ability of school-based clinics, nurses, home health providers, patients and family caregivers to connect and share medical information,” [VRHA memer] Karen S. Rheuban, MD, a pediatric cardiologist and co-founder of the University of Virginia Center for Telehealth who chairs the company’s advisory board, said in a 2016 press release. “The use of digital technologies that support high quality remote examinations, when integrated into care delivery models that enhance access both within the context of the medical home and in other settings, promises to transform how patients are treated today.”

Read the full article.

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Virginia News

Merger Comments Sought

From the Virginia Department of Health

The Commissioner received a request from the applicants on 02/03/2017 to delay a decision on the application for cooperative agreement between Mountain States Health Alliance and Wellmont Health System to allow for additional time to review the record.  In accordance with 12 VAC 5-221-90(B), the Commissioner approved the request.  The new deadline to render a decision on the application is no later than June 15, 2017, provided that the Tennessee application has been deemed complete again by March 1, 2017, and that all information deemed necessary to make the decision has been received by the Commissioner.

The VDH Office of Licensure and Certification is requesting comments regarding the merger. Please send yours to OLC-CooperativeAgreement@vdh.virginia.gov. Public comments will be accepted until 5:00 p.m. Monday May 1, 2017

Additional information is available on the VDH website.

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PMP Grant

From the Office of the Governor

Governor Terry McAuliffe announced that the Prescription Monitoring Program has been awarded a grant to help integrate use of its data in doctors’ and pharmacists’ regular work flow. The $3.1 million grant from PurduePharma will allow the Department of Health Professions to connect the state PMP with electronic health records (EHR) used by Virginia doctors and pharmacies. This is an additional step in Virginia’s fight against the epidemic of opioid addiction and overdose.

The Virginia PMP allows physicians and pharmacists to check a patient’s prescription history, through the PMP database, for certain prescriptions as reported by in-state and out-of-state pharmacies. Doctors and pharmacists already check the PMP database when prescribing or dispensing controlled substances both to enhance patient care and to help prevent “doctor shopping,” abuse, or diversion of prescription medications.

Integrating the PMP with EHR – through “NarxCare” technology developed by Kentucky-based Appriss – will make the step of checking the PMP easier for prescribers and pharmacists by integrating the PMP query into the existing workflow. The goal is to improve the performance, access and usability of the PMP program data for 18,000 prescribers and 400 pharmacies in the Commonwealth of Virginia by the end of 2017.

Read the full press release.

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Black Lung Surge

Howard Berkes - NPR

Across Appalachia, coal miners are suffering from the most serious form of the deadly mining disease black lung in numbers more than 10 times what federal regulators report, an NPR investigation has found. The government, through the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, reported 99 cases of "complicated" black lung, or progressive massive fibrosis, throughout the country the last five years.

But NPR obtained data from 11 black lung clinics in Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio, which reported a total of 962 cases so far this decade. The true number is probably even higher, because some clinics had incomplete records and others declined to provide data.

"The actual extent of PMF in U.S. coal miners remains unclear," says the report, which appears in this week's issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Read the full article.

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National News

Price on Rural Health

By Illene MacDonald - Fierce Healthcare

During t his confirmation hearing this morning before the Senate Finance Committee, Rep. Tom Price was asked what he will do to help alleviate the financial and regulatory burden facing critical care access hospitals. Price said in Georgia, many providers are leaving because of onerous regulations, such as Meaningful Use. 

“It has turned physicians into data entry clerks,” Price said, noting that doctors are spending more time punching information into computers instead of spending time with patients. Price said lawmakers need to look the consequences of rules and regulations they pass that may actually harm individuals or providers that deliver care.

Read the full article and related commentary from the National Rural Health Association.

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Better Opioid Treatment

Luke Runyon - NPR
For more than a decade, opioids have been a key part of a rural doctor's pain management for patients, Westfall says. Treatment options are often fewer in a rural area; alternatives like physical therapy may not be available or convenient, so drugs are a prime option.
Some researchers think larger economic, environmental and social factors leave rural Americans at particular risk, says University of California, Davis, epidemiologist Magdalena Cerdá. After the 2008 recession, rural areas consistently lagged behind urban areas in the recovery, losing jobs and population.

Melissa Morris, who has been off heroin since 2012, makes a two-hour drive to a clinic to pick up her supply of Suboxone. It's in short supply in many rural communities, in part because few rural doctors have gone through the required training to prescribe it.

Read the full article.

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Care for Communities

Genevieve Diesing - Hospital & Health Network

As rural hospitals shoulder increasing regulatory burdens, the demands of consumerism and the consequences of aging populations — among other responsibilities — they are perhaps under more pressure than ever to provide essential health services to their communities while fighting to survive. 

“While rural communities grapple with the challenges of protecting access, they will need tools to help them determine which services should be maintained globally and delivery system options that allow them to do that,” American Hospital Association President and CEO Rick Pollack  said. “And our report provides vulnerable rural communities and the hospitals that serve them with a menu of options and strategies.”

Read the full article.

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Insurance through the ACA

By Tim Marema - Daily Yonder

As Congress voted to make it easier to eliminate the Affordable Care Act, a report shows that the number of rural Americans who purchased insurance through the federally managed marketplace increased to 1.4 million, a gain of more than 10 percent, in the last year.

The study compared 2015 and 2016 data from the 36 states with nonmetropolitan counties whose individual insurance marketplace is managed through the federal system. (The states that weren’t part of the study either managed their own marketplaces or had no nonmetropolitan counties.)

The report showed that the percentage of the potential market in nonmetropolitan counties who purchased individual insurance through the federal system had grown from 36 to 40 percent from 2015 to 2016. Metropolitan counties had a higher estimated rate of enrollment (48 percent), but the gap between rural and urban enrollment narrowed slightly over the study period.

Read the full article.

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Mark Your Calendar

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

March 2: Livability in Action Regional Exchange - Christiansburg
March 13: Utilizing Virginia Medicaid's Addiction and Recovery Treatment Services -    ​ Winchester
March 15: Utilizing Virginia Medicaid's Addiction and Recovery Treatment Services - Harrisonburg
March 16: 
Oral Health Care Access for Individuals with Special Health Care Needs - Woodbridge
March 17: Utilizing Virginia Medicaid's Addiction and Recovery Treatment Services  - Roanoke
March 20: Utilizing Virginia Medicaid's Addiction and Recovery Treatment Services  - Radford
March 22: Utilizing Virginia Medicaid's Addiction and Recovery Treatment Services  - Wise
March 24: Utilizing Virginia Medicaid's Addiction and Recovery Treatment Services  - Abingdon
March 27: Utilizing Virginia Medicaid's Addiction and Recovery Treatment Services  - Martinsville
​March 29: Utilizing Virginia Medicaid's Addiction and Recovery Treatment Services  - Richmond
March 29-30: 2017 Population Health Summit - Charlottesville
March 31: 
Utilizing Virginia Medicaid's Addiction and Recovery Treatment Services  - Charlottesville
April 2-4: MATRC Telehealth Summit - Leesburg
May 9-12: 
40th Annual Rural Health Conference - San Diego, CA
May 9-12: Rural Hospital Innovation Summit - San Diego, CA


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New River Community Action Community Needs Assessment
2016 Comprehensive Community Needs Assessment from New River Community Action. Covers Floyd, Giles, Montgomery, Pulaski, and Radford City 

Glaucoma: Keep Vision in Your Future Toolkit
Whether you want to lead a small educational session about glaucoma, create an educational program, enhance your existing health program, or simply print materials to hand out, the Keep Vision in Your Future Toolkit has just what you need. This science-based, easy-to-understand toolkit features a PowerPoint presentation, a speaker’s guide, and tip sheets that you can use as handouts.

HRSA-supported Women’s Preventive Services Guidelines
Created to improve women’s health across the lifespan by identifying preventive services and screenings to be used in clinical practice. Updated guidelines address breastfeeding services and supplies, contraception, well-woman preventive visits, and screenings for gestational diabetes, HIV, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), interpersonal and domestic violence, cervical cancer, and breast cancer for average-risk women. 

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Funding Opportunities

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

Health Policy Research Scholars
RWJF program to create a large cadre of diverse doctoral students from a wide variety of research-focused disciplines—students whose research, connections, and leadership will inform and influence policy toward a Culture of Health. Specifically, we aim to recruit doctoral students from a variety of field/disciplines (e.g., urban planning, political science, economics, ethnography, education, social work, sociology) who are training to be researchers. 
Deadline: March 29

National Health Services Corps: 2017 Application and Program Guidance 
Primary care medical, dental and mental/behavioral health clinicians can get up to $50,000 to repay their health profession student loans in exchange for a two-year commitment to work at an approved NHSC site in a high-need, underserved area. The payment is free from Federal income tax and is made at the beginning of service, so you can quickly pay down your loans. 
Deadline: April 6

Interdisciplinary Research Leaders 
A RWJF program to produce diverse interdisciplinary leaders who conduct and apply high-quality, community-engaged, action-oriented, equity-focused health research in order to drive improvements in the health of communities. 
Deadline: March 8

Grants to Expand Substance Abuse Treatment Capacity in Family Treatment Drug Courts
Grants to enhance and expand substance use disorder treatment services in existing family treatment drug courts, that use the family treatment drug court model in order to provide alcohol and drug treatment for parents with a substance use disorder and/or co-occurring substance use disorder and mental disorders who have had a dependency petition filed against them or are at risk of such filing.
Application Deadline: Mar 3, 2017 

Black Lung Clinics Program (BLCP)
Awards grants to state, public, or private entities to reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with occupationally-related coal mine dust lung disease through the provision of quality medical, outreach, educational, and benefits counseling services.
Application Deadline: Mar 6, 2017 

Externship in Addiction Psychiatry
Offers a clinical shadowing program to minority medical students who have an interest in services related to substance abuse treatment and prevention in underserved areas. Externship sites will be located in rural or inner-city sites.
Application Deadline: Mar 11, 2017 

Sun Life Team Up Against Diabetes
The Sun Life Team Up Against Diabetes grant program is dedicated to addressing the prevention of diabetes and its related complications. Grants are provided to nonprofit organizations throughout the country that focus on the following areas: diabetes prevention, awareness, education, and care; diabetes management; recovery and support from diabetes-related complications; obesity prevention; and nutritional programs, including education, management, and awareness.
The application deadline is March 31, 2017. 

Department of Health and Human Services
The Drug-Free Communities Support Program provides grants for collaborative efforts to reduce substance use among youth and, over time, reduce substance abuse among adults by addressing the factors in a community that relate to the risk of substance abuse. The application deadline is March 15, 2017. 

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