Keep It Up!
The Governor has called a special session for this week. The legislators will return to Richmond to try to complete work on the budget and make a decision about closing the coverage gap. The Senate Finance committee has proposed "Marketplace Virginia" as a viable option for closing the gap.
VRHA contacted the office of Del. Cox regarding his statement that people do not die from lack of health insurance and received this reply.
Keep up the pressure! Even if you have done so before - contact your GA member today!
Members in the News
By Michael Sluss - The Roanoke Times
Gov. Terry McAuliffe brought his campaign for Medicaid expansion to the New River Valley on Tuesday, arguing that the state has a moral and social obligation to accept federal funds to extend health coverage to hundreds of thousands of low-income, uninsured Virginians.
[VRHA member] New River health center recently transitioned from a free clinic model to a center that serves people with Medicaid and Medicare coverage and uninsured patients who pay for services on a sliding scale. “I think if you talk to our staff, who talk to that 75 percent of our patients who cannot get Medicaid, that that is what they would like to do — they want to be insured,” said Michelle Brauns, the center’s CEO. “Our patients want to have some skin in this game. They don’t like to get free care.”
REMINDER - deadline is April 1
VRHA is pleased to offer a unique group purchasing opportunity for ICD-10 training. The Association of Rural Health Professional Coders will allow us to purchase access to their full ICD-10 e-learning library for only $100/user. Since the 7 training modules are typically $150-$200 each, this is a tremendous savings. Five of them are approved by AAPC and AHIMA and users can earn up to 20 CEUs recognized by both companies. Since ICD-10 begins October 1, the timing is perfect.
Click here to review the training modules available.
In order to receive the discount, VRHA will need to guarantee that we will purchase at least 100 user keys to the library. This offer is not exclusive to VRHA members, or even people in Virginia, so feel free to share with your colleagues.
To order user keys your organization needs, please complete this form. VRHA will take potential orders until April 1st, but will purchase them sooner if we reach 100 before then. Contact Beth O'Connor (540-231-7923) with any questions you may have.
By Senator Walter A. Stosch, 12th Senate District, Co-Chairman, Senate Finance Committee
There are calls to de-couple the budget and the issues surrounding healthcare in the budget debate. Let me share my perspective.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA), otherwise known as Obamacare, is tearing our country apart. 56% of the public is now opposed to the ill-conceived and equally ineptly implemented ACA. The Republicans are especially divided on how to best respond nationally and in the states.
But, despite my personal opposition to the entire plan, it is the law of the land. That decision was made when my preferred presidential candidate failed to be elected. So, if we now do not have the votes in Washington to repeal it or defund it, at least during the remainder of President Obama's term, how can we make the best of a bad situation?
Mental Health Compromise
By Julian Walker - The Virginian-Pilot
Virginia lawmakers have reached compromise on reforming mental health policies that satisfies the state senator whose personal tragedy inspired this round of revision to state psychiatric protocols.
The negotiated deal extends emergency custody orders to 12 hours -- the current maximum is six-hours -- and requires state hospitals to take patients after eight hours if another bed isn't found. Sen. Creigh Deeds hopes that means people in psychiatric crisis will no longer be discharged, or streeted, when they need treatment.
By Laura Kate Anderson Bender - American Lung Association
Last month, Healthy Air Campaign staff traveled to Southwest Virginia to capture on camera the stories of people whose lives have been impacted by air pollution.
It’s ready! Check out our brand new video, “Southwest Virginians Support Healthy Air”: http://bit.ly/OvSCen
Support the Extenders
By Erin Mahn - National Rural Health Association
S. 2110, the Medicare SGR Repeal and Beneficiary Access Improvement Act of 2014 will likely come to the Senate Floor next week. This bill, introduced by Senate Finance chairman Ron Wyden late last week, is modified from previous Senate legislation but is similar to a strong rural bill that was reported out of the Senate Finance committee last December. S. 2110 contains a permanent fix to the SGR and includes all rural Medicare extenders (the Work geographic adjustment, Medicare payment for therapy services, Medicare ambulance services, the Medicare Dependent Hospital program and the Low Volume Hospital adjustment) and make all but the ambulance provisions permanent.
NRHA requests you contact your Senators and urge them to support legislation that contains permanent extension of critical rural health Medicare funding; and not “pay-for” the SGR fix out of the pocket of rural providers. For more information visit our Congressional Action Kit.
Read the full article.
Rural vs. DC
By Tim Size - Tomah Journal
The threats we face fall into two buckets, one from Congress and one from the administration.
All rural and urban hospitals are at risk for ongoing Congressional cuts related to health reform and the federal budget deficit. Our message is the same as the Wisconsin Hospitals Issue Advocacy Council: “Enough is Enough.” We, along with the council, know that “we have some of the best hospitals in America. Study after study shows our hospitals are tops in quality of care and creating value … but in Washington, they keep cutting Medicare payments to hospitals —across-the-board cuts that hurt leaders like Wisconsin the most.”
The second bucket is unique to rural and effects rural hospitals nation-wide. And it feels a lot more personal. It comes not from Congress but from the Federal Department of Health & Human Services and in particular the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Rural hospitals feel under siege, and unlike most urban hospitals, believe that there is a deliberate campaign by the federal government to drive them out of business.
Read the full article.
No ICD-10 Delay
By Lena J. Weiner - HealthLeaders Media
CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner has announced that the ICD-10 deadline will not be delayed, but she is offering relief to providers, payers, and health information technology vendors struggling to meet Meaningful Use Stage 2 requirements. Two announcements from Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner will have wide-ranging implications for healthcare providers, insurers, and vendors.
The deadline for implementing the ICD-10 diagnostic coding set, which had already been delayed one year to October 1, 2014, will not be delayed again, Tavenner said. And while the Stage 2 Meaningful Use deadline will also not be delayed, Tavenner said that providers and vendors struggling to meet the incentive program's requirements will see some flexibility.
Read the full article.
By Mike Miliard - Healthcare IT News
In sparsely populated areas, where 46.2 million Americans live, things are very different from the cities where most health policy is developed. The provider base is different, with a bigger focus on primary care. The payer mix is different, with a heavier reliance on Medicare and Medicaid. Technology infrastructure is more limited. Small hospitals struggle with regulatory burdens, even as they're stretched thin dealing with more prevalent chronic disease. And, of course, geography – with vast open spaces between care facilities – poses huge challenges for patients and providers alike.
"Meaningful use is a means to an end," said said Judy Murphy, RN, deputy national coordinator for programs and policy at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT. And with $21 billion in incentives doled out so far, that goal of improved outcomes gets closer each day.
Rural physicians are participating in MU at roughly the same rate as the national average, and while hospitals are lagging a bit behind the overall trend, more than 60 percent of critical access facilities – more than 1,000 of them – have achieved meaningful use, fast exceeding an "all-hands-on-deck" challenge issued by ONC in 2012. Even better, there's been an improvement in rural technical infrastructure and, crucially, an increase in the knowledge base of the people putting it to work toward better care.
Read the full article.
For more information about these and other events, visit the VRHA Calendar.
March 30-April 1:
Adding Value through Sustainable Telehealth -
Evidence-Based Resources from AHRQ
New Rural Mental Health and Substance Abuse Toolkit Launched
Development of the Nursing Community Apgar Questionnaire (NCAQ): A Rural Nurse Recruitment and Retention Tool
Discharge to Swing Bed or Skilled Nursing Facility: Who Goes Where?
Map Facts: Disability in Rural America
Supporting Iowa Rural Provider Capacity Through Community Care Coordination Teams
Uninsured: An Analysis by Age, Income, and Geography
National Center of Excellence for the Prevention of Childhood Agricultural Injury (U54)
Oral Health 2020 Initiative
National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Scholarship Program
NURSE Corps Scholarship Program
CPF Eco Tech Grants
Gene Conley Foundation Grants
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: Reducing Health Care Disparities through Payment and Delivery System Reform
ADA Foundation: Samuel D. Harris Fund for Children’s Dental Health