VRHA Weekly Update
In this Issue

September 6-11, 2011

Virginia News National News Mark your calendar
Funding Opportunities
placeholder image

 Summer issue of the Rural Monitor now available.




Grant Writing Webinar Series

Leading into our "Models & Money" 2011 conference theme; VRHA, n collaboration with the Virginia Department of Health, Office of Minority Health and Health Equity, will be providing a 5-part webinar series from the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health to improve your grant writing skills.

Sessions will be:
• September 13 - Organizing Yourself to Write a Grant
• September 16 - Finding Funding to Support Your Proposal
• September 20 - Goals and Objectives
• September 27 - Using Data
• October 4 - Creating Better Budgets

All webinars will be held from 12:00 – 1:30.  Participants will also have access to the VRHA grant writing on-line community.

• VRHA members: $15/session or $50 for all 5
• Non-members: $25/session or $100 for all 5
• VRHA student members:  FREE!

Grant Mentorship!
Webinar participants also have the option of receving 1-on-1 mentorship from Janet McDaniel as they work through the grant application process.  This is a great way to develop multi-agency collaborations and pull together your community team! 

Mentorship package includes:
• 5 registrations for the full webinar series
• 3 hours of 1-on-1 assistance over the phone
• 5 hours of grant application editing
• Access to the VRHA grant writing on-line community
Mentorship package price:  $500 (a maximum of 5 community teams can register on a first-come, first-served basis)

Click here
to register for the Grant Writing Webinar Series.

Back to the top

Members in the News

By Public News Service

An estimated 21 million people will gain health insurance by 2014 as a direct result of The Affordable Care Act. However, according to a recent report analyzing current health care trends, the biggest strain on primary care in Virginia will not come from the newly insured, but from the aging of the population.

[VRHA member] Peggy Whitehead is executive director for Blue Ridge Medical Center, a community health center in Nelson County where 19 percent of the population is 65 or older, and she says changes will be evident.

"Our number of patients to providers is about 851 in Nelson County, so right now we're adequately meeting the need, but as time goes on, I think we're going to be stretched."Whitehead says that with an aging population comes an increase in chronic illness. She adds that community health centers such as hers have, so far, been able to pick up the slack in medically under-served areas, and to provide care at lower costs to patients.

Read the full article.

Back to the top

More Members in the News

By DelMarVa.com

A new healing garden of wetland and native plants opened last week at the Onley Community Health Center as part of a larger community project to restore water quality in the Onancock Creek watershed and the Chesapeake Bay.  Planted with native grasses, flowers, shrubs and trees, the garden and a constructed wetland are designed to serve as a quiet and attractive respite for health center visitors and at the same time to help capture and filter stormwater runoff from the center grounds, thereby reducing pollution going into Onancock Creek and eventually the Chesapeake Bay. Native plants will also provide habitat and food for wildlife.

Installation of the garden was a joint effort of the Eastern Shore Rural Conservation and Development Council and [VRHA member] Eastern Shore Rural Health System, Inc., with financial support from a variety of partners. The goal of the project was to demonstrate how ecosystem health and human health can go hand in hand.

Read the full article.

Back to the top

Welcome Mary Crandall!

Mary Crandall, MSN, RN is the newest member of the VRHA Board of Directors.  Crandall, the Medical Cener Director for the University of Virginia Health System – Continuum Home Health Care, was appointed by the board during their August 18th meeting.  Her appointment is conditional pending approval by the VRHA membership at the Annual Meeting.

Are you interested in serving VRHA as a board member?  Check out a list of the current members, read the board member guidelines, fill out the board application or contact Beth O'Connor for additional information.

Back to the top



Virginia News

Member Editorial #1

By [VRHA member] John J. Dreyzehner - Roanoke Times

Squeeze the drug market from all sides

Substance abuse is a market. It has both a supply and demand side, and while this market is complex, it is not an intractable problem or a mystery. Yet substance abuse is killing us and costing us in central Appalachia and all around our nation.  To shrink the substance abuse market, we must simultaneously restrain the sellers, treat the buyers and prevent new buyers -- anyone not misusing or abusing already -- from entering the market. At the same time, we must create or support constructive markets in education, opportunity, work and hope.

Thanks to the work of many, I believe there is unprecedented promise and progress in our region to do this now. The publication of the grassroots strategic plan "Blueprint for Substance Abuse and Misuse: Prevention, Treatment and Control," facilitated over the last year by the nonprofit OneCare of Southwest Virginia, is strong evidence of this.

Thinking of substance abuse as a market helps us understand that any positive or negative action on either the supply or demand side will result in an adjustment affecting the whole of the market.  Unless pressure is applied at the same time to all components of the market to curtail it, the market may respond in ways that can make our problems worse or create new ones. Let me make this market concept a little clearer.

Read the full editorial.

Dreyzehner chairs the nonprofit OneCare of Southwest Virginia Inc.

Back to the top

Member Editorial #2

By [VRHA member] Roger A. Hofford - Roanoke Times

Don’t break up the health care team

I was disappointed to read Christina Nuckols’ column on Aug. 14, “Nurses key to health care access,” promoting independent practice for nurse practitioners. This is not a doctors versus nurses issue, as the article makes it to be.

To grant or not to grant independent practice for nurse practitioners is a distraction from larger matters relating to health care in Virginia.
Our first concern as physicians is to provide the best health care possible to the residents of the state. Fragmentation of the health care team is the enemy, not nurse practitioners. The best health care is team care with doctors, nurses and others working together.

Of note, the U.S. Army is in the process of rolling out a program called “TeamCare” worldwide. This program is physician-led, working hand in hand with nurses, nurse practitioners and physician assistants to provide the best care to our military. As U.S. health care reform moves toward accountable care organizations, the future is health care teams led by physicians working closely with nurses and others.

Read the full editorial.

Hofford is a physician and educator in Roanoke.

Back to the top

Council Honors Local EMS

By Stephanie Porter-Nichols - SWVA Today

A Smyth County emergency services agency, its medical director, and a hospital nurse have received honors from the Southwest Virginia Emergency Services Council.  Chilhowie Fire Department received the council’s 2011 Outstanding EMS Agency award. The fire fighting and emergency medical services agency responds to more than 1,000 calls each year, maintains high personnel and training standards, and has developed multiple specialty rescue teams, the council said.

“Chilhowie Fire Department is well-known throughout the region for their professionalism and commitment to quality service,” Council Director Gregory Woods said in a release. “Their commitment and dedication to serving their community certainly justifies their receipt of this award.”

Read the full article.

Back to the top



National News

Preparing for Health Care Cuts

By Robert Bowman M.D. - Daily Yonder

On January 1, federal health care rates for doctors will be cut 29.5% unless Congress acts. The cuts will be harder on primary care physicians — and that means they will cut more deeply in rural communities, which are more dependent on primary care providers. At one point in history, Congress did realize that health care cost increases were a huge problem. Various mechanisms were designed to limit health care spending. The SGR or Sustainable Growth Rate design was one of these spending limitation interventions. The SGR design typically resulted in only a few percentage points of proposed cuts. Congress has bypassed these SGR cuts year after year, often in last minute rescue sessions.

This has set in motion the long process that has now led to a 29.5% cut in physician pay that will take effect on January 1, 2012.  We have until the end of the year to prepare for these cuts — a health care Armageddon — if we don’t first fix the formula.  Of course those who put their dollars and efforts into stopping the cuts are not likely to be prepared for 29.5% cuts. And be forewarned: It will take some very smart planning to save our primary care system.  The area of rural primary care is important to understand. All populations are dependent upon certain types of health care services, but some are more dependent than others.

Read the full article.

Daily Yonder - Keep it Rural

Back to the top

Funds Fail to Reach Rural

By ihealthbeat.org

The Federal Communications Commission is coming under fire for not distributing millions of dollars intended for rural health care.
Since 1997, telecommunications companies have been required by law to collect universal access fees from their customers. Those fees are designed to subsidize broadband access for clinics, hospitals, schools and libraries in underserved areas.

FCC is responsible for distributing up to $400 million of that fund each year for rural health care services, such as telemedicine. However, the commission has doled out just a fraction of that money.

Read the full article.

Back to the top


Congratulations to NRHA CEO Alan Morgan, who rolled in at #82 in Modern Healthcare's 2011 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare! The annual 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare competition recognizes the men and women considered among the most influential throughout the industry, as chosen by readers of Modern Healthcare.

View the full list.

Back to the top



Mark Your Calendar

For more information about these and other events, visit the VRHA Calendar.
September 12-13: 2011 Virginia Rural Summit - Glen Allen
September 17: Educational Forum on Prescription Drug Abuse - Richlands
September 17: Educational Forum on Prescription Drug Abuse - Big Stone Gap
September 27-28: NRHA Rural Health Clinic Conference - Kansas City, MO
September 28-30: NRHA Critical Access Hospital Conference - Kansas City, MO
October 4-5: Weight of the State Conference - Richmond
October 5-7: International Rural Nursing & Rural Health Conference - Binghamton, NY
November 13-15: Virginia Association of Free Clinics Annual Conference - Staunton
December 7-9: Virginia Rural Health Association Annual Conference - Staunton
December 7-9: NRHA Rural Multiracial and Multicultural Health Conference - Daytona Beach, FL

National  Rural Health Day is November 17th!
NRHD Fact:  Approximately 62 million people – nearly one in five Americans – live in rural and frontier areas. Rural Americans reside in 80 percent of the total U.S. land area but only comprise 20 percent of the U.S. population. There are 4,118 primary care Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) in rural and frontier areas of all U.S. states and territories compared to 1,960 in metropolitan areas.


Back to the top





From the Medicare Learning Network:

The Medicare Overpayment Collection Process Fact Sheet Revised
Includes the definition of a physician or supplier overpayment and information about the overpayment collection process.

Medicare Billing Information for Rural Providers and Suppliers Publication Revised
Designed to provide education on Medicare rural billing.

From the National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center:

Oral Health Services for Children and Adolescents with Special Health Care Needs: A Resource Guide (2nd ed.)
Provides annotated lists of journal articles, materials, and organizations that may serve as resources. Topics include continuing education for professionals, financing of care, disease prevention and early intervention strategies, public education, and state and national data and programs. 

Oral Health Resource Bulletin: Volume XXV

The latest in a series listing selected oral health resources that are available for health professionals, program administrators, policymakers, and educators in the maternal and child health community.

Community Health Workers Toolkit
Created by RAC, it’s designed to help you evaluate opportunities for developing a CHW program and provide resources and best practices developed by successful CHW programs.

Back to the top



Funding Opportunities

NHSC Announces New Pilot Program and Welcomes New Sites
The National Health Service Corps (NHSC) is launching a new pilot program and has changed its policy regarding Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) eliminating the application process. As a result of policy changes, FQHCs no longer have to apply to become NHSC-approved sites.  In addition, as long as they continue to receive funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and meet all NHSC requirements and qualifications, their NHSC-approved status will never expire.

Pilot Students to Service Loan Repayment Program

The NHSC Students to Service Loan Repayment Program (S2S LRP) is a pilot program that will provide loan repayment assistance to medical students (MD and DO) in their last year of school in return for serving in eligible Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) of greatest need.  The program is seeking applicants who demonstrate the characteristics for and an interest in serving the nation's medically underserved populations beyond their service commitment. The S2S LRP will provide loan repayment up to $120,000 for three years of full-time service or six years of half-time service. The NHSC plans to open the S2S LRP application cycle in November 2011 and close the cycle in December 2011. 

Rural Health Network Development Planning Grant Program
The Office of Rural Health Policy (ORHP) is pleased to announce the release of the FY 2012 Rural Health Network Development Planning Grant Program, a grant program to expand access to, coordinate and improve the quality of essential health care services and enhance the delivery of health care, in rural areas. The deadline for the announcement is October 31st, 2011 and there will be a technical assistance call for this program which will be held on September 22nd, 2011. The call-in information for the TA call is in the announcement. Questions: contact Eileen Holloran, 301.443.7529.

PepsiCo Foundation

The PepsiCo Foundation seeks to foster healthy, vibrant, and self-sufficient communities worldwide through global partnerships that improve the quality of life in the areas of health, environment, and education. In the Health category, the focus is on food security and improved nutrition. The Environment category supports programs that address water security, sustainable agriculture, and adaptive approaches to climate change. In the Education category, the emphasis is on access to education and training for the underserved as well as women’s empowerment. Letters of interest may be submitted at any time.

Youth Service America: UnitedHealth HEROES Grants

UnitedHealth HEROES Grants, administered by Youth Service America, provide support to educators, service-learning coordinators, public health professionals, and community-based groups for service-learning projects that take place throughout the U.S. (Service-learning is a teaching strategy that combines meaningful service to the community with student learning, academic achievement, and workplace readiness.) Grants of $500 to $1,000 will be awarded to help youth, ages 5-25, create and implement local, hands-on programs to fight childhood obesity. The grants encourage semester-long projects that launch on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service (January 16, 2012) and culminate on Global Youth Service Day (April 20-22, 2012). Applications are due October 17, 2011.

Back to the top