VRHA Weekly Update
In this Issue September 15, 2014

VRHA News Virginia News National News Mark your calendar
Funding Opportunities


Newsletter available





Rural is Not a Mini-Urban

One of the biggest hurdles rural providers and communities face is trying to fit their programs, grant applications, and operating models into ideals conceived by their urban counter-parts.  What can you do to communicate the needs of your organization to those who control budgets?  Where can you find rural-approriate funding?

Come hear Tom Morris, Associate Administrator for Rural Health Policy, 
Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services speaking on this topic at the VRHA Annual Conference December 11 & 12.  
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for more details.

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It's Not Enough

Governor McAuliffe announced his 10-point "A Healthy Virginia" plan to improve access to health care in Virginia (see details below).

He was not able to unilaterally approve a full Medicaid expansion to close the coverage gap. But he will take executive action to improve access to services for those with serious mental illness, access for veterans, dental care for pregnant women, FAMIS for children of low income state employees and consumer assistance for those who could qualify for private insurance from the federal Marketplace. These are all important steps forward - but it's not enough.

The Governor made that very clear at his press conference. A young man from Martinsville was introduced by the Governor. He has a serious heart condition for which he had surgery and treatment when he was enrolled in the FAMIS program. When he turned age 19 he lost FAMIS, and he is now one of 400,000 low income adults who is uninsured - without access to the follow-up treatment and medications he desperately needs. The Governor repeated his call to the General Assembly to work with him and the federal government to create a plan to close Virginia's coverage gap without delay.

The legislature has a special session starting on September 18 to discuss Medicaid. Between now and then we need all the HAV organizations to get the following message out to all members of the General Assembly:

It's time for the General Assembly to take ACTION to Close the Coverage Gap NOW! No more delays. No more politics. Bring back the federal tax dollars we have already paid to help Virginians and Virginia's economy!

Please contact legislators directly and submit op-eds and letters to the editor. The legislators need to know that they have the power and responsibility to close the coverage gap.

Click here for more talking points and GA contact information.

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Members in the News

By Allison Buth - Roanoke Times

[VRHA member] Carilion Giles Community Hospital was named a five-time 2014 PRC award winner by Professional Research Consultants Inc., a national health care marketing research company.

“We are so proud and excited to receive five awards from PRC for providing excellent patient care to our community,” said Richard Mastalski, the hospital’s senior director.

Read the full article.

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Virginia News

The 10-Step Plan

From the Office of the Governor 

Governor McAuliffe launched A Healthy Virginiaa 10-step plan to expand healthcare services to over 200,000 Virginians. This plan is an unprecedented action by any governor in Virginia history and includes authorizations of four emergency regulations, one executive order, and innovative and creative solutions to expand healthcare to Virginia veterans, children, and families.   

As governor, there is no greater responsibility than ensuring the health and safety of the citizens you serve. That is why I am so proud to stand here today and unveil ‘A Healthy Virginia’ – a plan that will improve the lives of more than 200,000 citizens throughout the Commonwealth,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Through my plan, I am taking action by authorizing 4 emergency regulations and issuing 1 executive order that will address urgent health needs and put us on a pathway toward Building a New Virginia Economy. However, these steps are just the beginning, and we must continue to press forward together to achieve better health for all of our citizens.” 

Read the full press release and related story in the Washington Post.

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Drug Abuse Strategy

By Joe Dashiell - WDBJ7

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring took aim at heroin and prescription drug abuse, announcing a new drug abuse strategy during a visit to Roanoke.

In 2012, more than 800 Virginians died from overdoses, according to the Virginia Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.  Heroin overdose deaths nearly doubled between 2011 and 2013.

"It's not just in one area of the state. Some areas are experiencing different problems," Herring told reporters. "It's still the meth problem in southwest Virginia. It may be heroin in other parts of the state, but the issue about opiate abuse, prescription drug abuse, heroin spikes, we've got to get a handle on it before it gets worse."

Read the full article.

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Dental School Application Revived

By Jim Talbert - SWVA Today

New life was breathed into the proposed dental school at Bluefield College Sept. 3. During a joint meeting the Tazewell County Board of Supervisors and the Industrial Development Authority voted to approve a letter of support for a $15.7 million grant application to fund the project. The application is being made to the Virginia Tobacco Commission and is described as an amended application.

Read the full article.

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National News

Increasing Vets' Access

By Joyce Frieden - MedPage Today

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) says it has started moving ahead with its efforts to improve healthcare for veterans, starting with increasing access to private-practice physicians. The new legislation, which was signed into law by President Obama on Aug. 7, mandates that veterans who wait an unusually long time for care, or live more than 40 miles from a VA facility, will be covered for care they receive from a private-practice physician.

The effect of increased private-practice referrals will become more clear once the regulations for the law have been issued, which is slated to happen within 90 days of the president's signature, said Brock Slabach, senior vice-president of the National Rural Health Association.

Read the full article and related press release from the US Department of Veterans Affairs.

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Uniquely Positioned to Help Women

By Victoria M. Indivero - Penn State News

Many primary care physicians in rural communities do not routinely screen women for intimate partner violence (IPV), according to Penn State medical and public health researchers. Rural women who are exposed to such violence have limited resources if they seek help.

"Rural health care providers are uniquely positioned to help women," said Jennifer S. McCall-Hosenfeld, a primary care physician and assistant professor of medicine and public health sciences, Penn State College of Medicine. "However, in rural settings, it might be even more important for physicians to step in, because there are few places for women experiencing IPV to turn. The physicians are in a good position to help, and may be the only option for rural women."

Read the full article.

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Income and Rural Health

By Richard Craver - Winston-Salem Journal

A statewide task force said today that a close link exists between economic, mental and physical health for rural North Carolinians.

“Income is directly related to health, with increased income corresponding to better health outcomes,” according to the report released by the N.C. Rural Health Action Plan. The report was compiled by the N.C. Institute of Medicine, N.C. Office of Rural Health and Community Care, and the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust.

The overall goal of the report is convincing the legislature and state economic and health officials to refocus spending priorities, though the task force acknowledges that current opposition to expanding Medicaid coverage from Gov. Pat McCrory and the legislature makes some of its recommendations harder to accomplish.

Read the full article.


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Rural Training Programs 

By Steve Young - Argus Leader

South Dakota’s latest effort to bring health care to its rural communities has a Minnesota feel to it. That’s because the new Frontier and Rural Medicine (FARM) program rolled out in July by the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine is patterned after a similar one at the University of Minnesota medical school campuses in the Twin Cities and Duluth.

Minnesota’s Rural Physician Associate Program has been in place since 1971. Like FARM, it sends out third-year medical students to live and train for nine months in nonmetropolitan communities. Its track record impressed South Dakota officials. Of more than 1,300 students who participated in Minnesota’s rural medicine program, two-thirds now practice in the state. Additionally, two-thirds of those participants are rural physicians somewhere in America. And 80 percent are in primary care.

Read the full article.


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Mark Your Calendar

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

September 22: Addressing the future of health care: Moving from Policy to Implementation - Bristol, TN
September 25: Discussing Immunization with Communities of Color - teleconference
September 30-October 1: Rural Health Clinic Conference - Kansas City, MO
October 1-3: Critical Access Hospital Conference - Kansas City, MO
October 17 - 18: Dental Care Approaches for Adults with Disabilities - Chesapeake
November 14: Virginia Oral Health Summit - Richmond
December 11 & 12: Virginia Rural Health Association Annual Conference - Staunton​

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Hospital Guide to Reducing Medicaid Readmissions
 This guide is aimed toward hospitals at all stages of readmissions reduction work.  It has six sections with topics ranging from how to analyze root causes of readmissions to suggestions on providing enhanced services to patients at high risk of readmission.  It also includes a set of 13 tools, (available as individual downloads), which range from a Readmission Risk Tool to a Discharge Information Checklist.

Rural CHIP
A new analysis for First Focus by Bill O’Hare shows that children in rural communities are more likely than their urban counterparts to get health care through the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and Medicaid. With federal funding for CHIP scheduled to end next year, this report illustrates the importance of extending CHIP funding for children in rural America.

Geiger Gibson Capstone Fellowship
The Geiger Gibson Capstone Fellowship in Health Policy and Leadership is offered through a partnership between the Department of Health Policy and the National Association of Community Health Center’s Leadership Development Institute.  The program is designed to provide participants with the knowledge needed to understand U.S. health policy trends and their implications for health centers.

Community Commons
Website provides reports, maps and tools to strengthen planning and grant applications to help improve community outcomes.

ICD-10 Toolkit
Provides guidance and assistance to rural healthcare providers in making the transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10. This toolkit is designed to be used in conjunction with any coder or physician training that a rural hospital or clinic may be doing.

Rural Hospital Closures: January 2010 – Present
Provides an interactive map displaying the location of rural hospital closures across the country from January 2010 to present. It also provides a sortable list of hospitals closures.

State Obesity Maps 
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) updated maps detailing the prevalence of obesity among U.S. adults for all states and the District of Columbia are now live on the CDC website.  

2014 School Health Index
Start the school year with ways to help students succeed in the classroom and beyond. Stay tuned to CDC’s Healthy Schools site for new resources, including the updated 2014 School Health Index assessment tool, to help focus on student health as part of making school a good place to learn.

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Funding Opportunities

Wrigley Company Foundation Community Service Grants
Deadline: October 1, 2014
The ADHA Institute for Oral Health / Wrigley Company Foundation are pleased to offer the members of the American Dental Hygienists' Association (ADHA) the opportunity to apply for community service grants leading up to National Dental Hygiene Month. The Wrigley Company Foundation Community Service grant will be awarded to applicants who are involved in a specific community health project that improves the public’s oral health and provide oral health education.

Multidisciplinary and Collaborative Research Consortium to Reduce Oral Health Disparities in Children: A Multilevel Approach (UH2/UH3)
Deadlines: Letter of Intent (Required) - November 9, 2014  Application - December 9, 2014
Multidisciplinary and Collaborative Research Consortium to Reduce Oral Health Disparities in Children: A Multilevel Approach (UH2/UH3) will award grants to multidisciplinary teams to test an intervention or evaluate outcomes of an existing program or policy intended to reduce oral health disparities and inequalities, with the goal of improving oral health for low-income rural or urban populations. 

Incentive Grants for Practitioners, Students, and Community Practice Residents
Application deadline: Sep 29, 2014
Offers pharmacists seed money to implement or support an existing patient care service within their pharmacy practice.

Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI)
Application deadline: Nov 12, 2014
Grants to provide financial and technical assistance to recipients to develop their capacity and ability to undertake projects related to housing, community facilities, or community and economic development.

Healthy Tomorrows Partnership for Children Program
Application deadline: Oct 14, 2014
Grants to support community-based child health projects that improve the health status of mothers, infants, children, and adolescents by increasing their access to health services.

Whole Kids Foundation: School Garden Grant Program  
Whole Kids Foundation is dedicated to supporting schools and inspiring families to improve children’s nutrition and wellness.The Foundation's School Garden Grant Program provides support for edible gardens at schools serving any grade K-12. These grants of $2,000 are awarded to schools and nonprofit organizations working at schools in the U.S. and Canada. Consideration is given to new or existing garden projects at any stage of development - planning, construction, or operation, that help children engage with fresh fruits and vegetables. Applications may be submitted from September 1 through October 31, 2014. 

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