Last weekend's board retreat included the election of new VRHA Officers:
- Mary Crandall, President
- Suzanne Lo, Vice President
- Chuck Carr, Treasurer
- Susan Meacham, Secretary
Congratulations to our new leaders! Much thanks to outgoing officers, Derek Burton, Kirk Ballin, & Brenda Hart.
Student Members in the News
Please join us in congratulating the team of [VRHA member] Hussein Al-Mohamad, Ryan Anderson, Rohini Manaktala, and [VRHA member] Logan Rhea who won the 2014 Medical Jeopardy Tournament at the Virginia ACP (American College of Physicians) annual meeting in Richmond! The ACP is the second largest physician organization in the country and the premier Internal Medicine group with one of its strongest chapters in Virginia.
The team from the Edward Via College of Osteopathmic Medicine competed against other medical student teams from around the state including UVA, MCV, and Carilion. By the end of the second round they had already secured the win but still went on to answer the final jeopardy question correctly.
Members in the News
By Lindsey Ward - WSLS10
The American Red Cross and WSLS 10 team up once again for celebration of heroes.
We bring you [VRHA member] Bill Jacobsen's story, a hospital administrator at Franklin Memorial who is this year's Medical Hero.
Read the full article.
More on Covering the Gap
The issue of covering the gap for the uninsured continues to be a hot topic. Here are a few samples of recent media headlines.
- Bipartisan Support for Closing the Coverage Gap (The Office of the Governor)
- Representatives Urge the General Assembly to Close the Coverage Gap (The Office of the Governor)
- Hiding in Plain Sight (Roanoke Times editorial board)
- Lawmakers stick to budget rhetoric (Roanoke Times)
- The security of access to care (Roanoke Times)
- I am the coverage gap (Healthcare for All Virginians)
Mental Health Initiatives
By Gnomes National News Service
To address the shortage of mental health professionals in Virginia, the Virginia Health Care Foundation (VHCF) has launched two initiatives: A scholarship program to increase the number of Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners and a Continuing Medical Education Webinar for physicians and nurse practitioners who want to further develop their knowledge about prescribing behavioral health medicines.
Read the full article.
By Gene Marrano - Roanoke Star
The Jefferson College of Health Sciences and Virginia Western Community College further cemented their long-standing relationship by signing another series of articulation agreements recently. The agreements mean that students in good standing who graduate from VWCC’s two-year programs in respiratory therapy, health & exercise science and health psychology can transition into JCHS bachelor’s level programs without a problem.
That makes around a dozen health care tracts for which the two schools have signed articulation agreements. New River Valley Community College also signed off on articulation agreements with Jefferson College at the same time. JCHS president Dr. N.L. Bishop said the school’s leadership team – the department chairs – and the Deans “work closely with…Virginia Western Community College…in looking at what is projected to be the needs [of the marketplace].”
By David Lee - National Rural Health Association
The President has signed a 12 month delay of cuts scheduled to take affect under the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate. In addition to the delay of these cuts, the bill extends the Medicare Dependent Hospital Program, Low-Volume Hospital adjustment, current rural and “super-rural” ambulance payment rates, and the rural “work floor” in the geographic practice cost index. NRHA is appreciative of efforts made to extend these programs permanently in the Senate as well as the one year extension of the programs.
The bill has also delayed ICD-10 implementation until October 1, 2015.
NRHA also sought to include regulatory relief as part of this bill, including addressing issues with the 96-hour condition of payment rule currently experienced by Critical Access Hospitals as well as mandating that supervision levels for outpatient therapy services be reverted to a level of “general”. While these issues were not included in the package passed today, NRHA will continue to advance these efforts through NRHA-supported legislation that has already been introduced in both the House and Senate.
Hospitals on Life Support
By John Buntin - Governing
Like most rural hospitals, Bryan Whitfield is in many ways a creature of government. Built with the help of federal funds under the Hill-Burton Act of 1948, the hospital is organized under Alabama state law as an independent health authority. The city of Demopolis appoints five of the hospital board’s nine members and, under the terms of a court settlement, appropriates $125,000 a year to provide indigent care to town residents. Marengo County, in which the hospital is situated, pays an even larger sum—$360,000 a year—under the terms of the same settlement. By far the biggest contributors to the hospital’s bottom line, though, are Medicare and Medicaid. Roughly 75 percent of the hospital’s $73 million-plus budget comes from those programs, a significantly higher percentage than the average hospital.
In rural Alabama, $73 million is a large number. Even so, Bryan Whitfield’s profit margins are razor thin—and recently got thinner. About two years ago, the federal recovery audit program found that the hospital had improperly billed Medicare; the federal government demanded that the hospital repay $1.3 million immediately. That presented hospital administrator Mike Marshall with tough choices. In December, he announced that the board had voted to lay off 40 employees and shut down the hospital’s labor and delivery unit, which delivered 231 babies last year, but which did not collect enough revenue to cover its costs. If the labor and delivery unit shuts down, the residents of Demopolis and the areas that surround it, like Forkland, will be forced to drive to Tuscaloosa, Selma or Meridian, Miss., to receive prenatal care and to give birth.
Confronting Higher Costs
By Kristen Wyatt - Associated Press
Bill Fales wanted a new baler and a better irrigation system for the 700-acre ranch where he raises grass-fed beef cattle, but he scrapped those plans when he saw his new health insurance premiums. His Cold Mountain Ranch is in western Colorado's Rocky Mountains, a rural area where outpatient services are twice as expensive as the state average. Fales recently saw his monthly premiums jump 50 percent, to about $1,800 a month.
Health care has always been more expensive in far-flung communities, where actuarial insurance data show fewer doctors, specialists and hospitals, as well as older residents in need of more health care services. But the rural-urban cost divide has been exacerbated by the Affordable Care Act.
Read the full article.
By the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Nurse residency programs have been touted as a way to reduce turnover among new graduate nurses. But many health care facilities, especially smaller ones in rural areas, cannot afford to launch costly programs to help new nurses transition into clinical practice.
A nursing task force in Iowa, comprised of nurse leaders in acute care, long-term care, and education, as well as new nurse graduates and student nurses, has developed an innovative solution: an online nurse residency program that all health care facilities in the state—and potentially across the country—can use for a modest fee.
Read the full article.
For more information about these and other events, visit the VRHA Calendar.
April 22: NRHA's Rural Medical Educator's conference - Las Vegas, NV
County Health Rankings & Roadmaps
New Tools to Support Implementation of the Updated Competitive Foods Standards
Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation Grants
Reducing Health Care Disparities Through Payment and Delivery System Reform
TIGER Discretionary Grants
Public Access to Defibrillation Demonstration Projects
Rural Access to Emergency Devices Grant Program (RAED)
Advancing Social Sciences-Based Research on Food Assistance and Nutrition Challenges in Rural America
Grants for Transportation of Veterans in Highly Rural Areas
Avon Breast Cancer Safety Net Program
Innovative Approaches to Improve Community Health
Summer Food Service Program