March 2018

i Mar 16th No Comments by

Julie Casper
Illinois Center for Rural Health
NOSORH Member Since 1996

What I’m working on right now: Today I am working on a mental health conference that is March 20th, an opioid conference on June 27th, and a new competitive SLRP grant.

Who inspires you? My friends and family, including my NOSORH family.

Favorite quote: “The way you do one thing, is how you do everything.”

Favorite thing about working at a SORH: Every day is different in our SORH. Kind of like a box of candy. I never know what the flavor of the day will be.

3 great things about rural health in my state: The people with whom I work, the communities I am able to serve, and the mission I can promote to increase access in rural.

If I weren’t doing this, I would be… outside as much as possible! Probably walking, gardening and playing with my dogs.

Last place I traveled to: Carefree, Arizona

People would be surprised if they knew: I used to have a Harley and still have my motorcycle license.

Committee Clips

i Mar 1st No Comments by

NOSORH committees are great focal points for engaging in many NOSORH initiatives.  Descriptions of all committees and contact information can be found on the NOSORH website.

JCREC-  On the Joint Committee on Rural Emergency Care several states shared their activities: Minnesota on the challenges of an aging volunteer EMS force, Georgia on their success in Medicaid proposals on EMS in the state, and New Mexico on identifying data sets for Tribal health. NRHA has also developed an EMS Policy Paper that will be made available soon.

Board – The NOSORH Board of Directors will meet in March to review a first draft logic model which will provide a framework for NOSORH’s next strategic plan. Graham Adams (SC) has been appointed to lead a “Futures” task force to provide insight for the strategic plan on the role of the SORH in the future and to consider NOSORH services to ensure SORH are able to thrive in the new environment.

Executive– The Executive Committee met last month to plan some of the actions for moving forward with a 2018-2021 Strategic Plan. Melissa Van Dyne, NOSORH President, has appointed a task force to review NOSORH’s committee structure and governance. In addition, the committee is planning to conduct a review of the Executive Director salary structure.

Flex – The Flex committee has been re-purposed to allow for a simple dialogue among Flex coordinators and other SORH who have an interest in Flex issues. Meetings will no longer be recorded, and the agenda will be driven by discussion items provided to committee co-chairs Jody Ward (NC) and John Packham(NV). Last month, the committee began by considering and discussing how the Flex program could be used to respond to community and CAH needs to support primary care, address population health and social determinants of health.

PPMT –The Policy Program Monitoring Team has released a listing of essential community providers in each state. SORH and their partners are encouraged to check the list and provide feedback. A series of webinar/discussion sessions are being planned to look at state policies to ensure access to care. The committee met last month to review the 340 B Study released by the House Energy and Commerce committee, Medicaid waivers, and short term duration health plans. The committee meets the 4th Wednesday of every month at 3 PM eastern. All SORH should consider joining the call for regular updates on policy and program changes.

RHC – The Rural Health Clinic committee met last month and heard from NOSORH partners at the Compliance Team, the Southern Maine Rural Health Research Centers, the National Association of Rural Health Clinics regarding issues of concern for RHC including survey requirements, and the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services RHC report. The committee serves as an advisory group and faculty for the upcoming Rural Health Clinic Institute for SORH.

Education Exchange – The Education Exchange committee met for a combined January and February meeting on February 5th, 2018. The committee began discussing opportunities for education related to “health and wellness”, led by co-chair Natalie Claiborne as a follow up to the January NOSORH Board meeting. An educational fact sheet/issue brief on Medicare Advantage plans is currently being drafted. The next EE committee meeting will be March 19, 2018 at 4:00pm ET.

Communications–  The Communications Committee met to provide recommendations on the new Roots newsletter template created in Constant Contact. The Committee will begin discussing initial plans for National Rural Health Day 2018.

Back to March Branch

Rural Health Clinic Institute Registration Deadline Approaching

i Mar 1st No Comments by

Registration for the Rural Health Clinic Institute, a webinar series developed exclusively for State Offices of Rural Health (SORH), closes March 16! SORH will learn about the needs of RHCs, compliance issues, how to support RHCs to do better billing and collection, ways to help clinics become innovative, and how to organize their efforts to be effective technical assistance providers for RHCs.

There will be an optional face-to-face Institute “Kick-Off” session at the National Association of Rural Health Clinics (NARHC) Spring Institute in San Antonio on March 18. This two-hour workshop serves as a primer for SORH to gain a basic understanding of RHCs. NOSORH will then launch the Institute webinars on April 3.

View the RHC Institute flyer for more details and an outline of the curriculum.

Click here to register for the Institute. Registration ends March 16 and class size is limited. The registration fee is $500.

Back to March Branch

Register Now for the National Rural EMS & Care Conference

i Mar 1st No Comments by

Registration is now open for the 4th Annual National Rural EMS and Care Conference! You’re invited to join NOSORH, the National Association of State EMS Officials (NASEMSO), the Joint Committee on Rural Emergency Care (JCREC), and the Arizona Center for Rural Health on April 24-25 in Tucson, Arizona. Network with other attendees, including rural EMS directors, medical directors and officers, rural healthcare providers, state EMS officials, state rural health officials, hospital administrators, elected officials, federal agency officials, and other EMS stakeholders.

NOSORH is offering a 4-hour EMS Grant Writing 101 Workshop!
Rural EMS agencies and other interested partners will learn how to write and submit a complete grant proposal, understand rural relevant data important to EMS and identify funding opportunities. This workshop will be held on Monday, April 23, at 1:00 pm. View the agenda here.

Sponsorship/Exhibitor Opportunities
Are you interested in supporting the mission of the JCREC, NOSORH and NASEMSO at the National Rural EMS & Care Conference? Three levels of support are being offered for the conference:

Prime Sponsor-$5,000
Select Sponsor- $2,500
Conference Exhibitor-$1,000

To register as a sponsor and for more information regarding each level of sponsorship, please click here for the 2018 Sponsor Prospectus.


Click here to view the full conference agenda.

Click here to register for the Conference and the Grant Writing 101 Workshop.

Please share this registration information with all partners, providers, or other interested parties. Also, please include in any newsletters or other distributions you may have.

If you have any questions, please contact Matt Strycker at or Trevor Brown at

Back to March Branch

Essential Community Providers

i Feb 23rd No Comments by

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has established a designation for health service providers called Essential Community Provider (ECP).There are requirements for Qualified Health Plans to assure that a bare minimum of these key service providers are part of their networks.

2019 Essential Community Provider Listing – Overview
A detailed Overview describing the use of the spreadsheet below

Program Year 2019 Essential Community Provider Listing
This spreadsheet includes all the ECPs recognized by CMS for the 2019 Program Year. The listing provides a record for each ECP site. It includes details including location and staffing for each site as well as affiliated organizational information for each site. Filters are established on key data fields permitting users to separate out listing by state, site location and ECP type. You can use the spreadsheet to view those ECPs in your state and identify any rural providers that might be omitted. Omitted providers can petition CMS to be added to the listing. 


February 2018

i Feb 23rd No Comments by

Robert Duehmig
Oregon Office of Rural Health
Deputy Director
NOSORH Member for 12 Years

What I’m working on right now: My SORH grant

Who inspires you? My kids

What I’m currently reading: White Trash:The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America

Favorite thing about working at a SORH: Opportunity to visit rural Oregon

Best advice I ever received: Just relax

If I weren’t doing this, I would be: Teaching

Last place I traveled to: Etlan, Virginia

Favorite Quote: “The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has limits.”- Albert Einstein

People would be surprised if they knew: I am a really nice guy

What’s your secret talent? If only……

January 2018

i Feb 23rd No Comments by

Bonnie Burlingham
Washington State Office of Rural Health
SORH Grant Manager

What I’m working on right now:

  1. Improving quality in Rural Health Clinics through mock survey, TA site visits, and developing short educational videos to help demystify the federal RHC regulations. We completed our first video on Annual Evaluation last summer and a video on Policy and Procedure development will be released soon.
  2. Palliative Care integration in rural areas. Led by our SORH director, we are developing resources to increase palliative care capacity in 7 rural communities. I’m specifically working on the telehealth aspect of the project. We are starting with a provider-to-provider case consultation 6 month pilot, all done via videoconference.
  3. Increasing rural EMS volunteers. We’ve seen a decline in rural EMS staff, particularly volunteers. We are working in partnership with Washington OneNet on an educational video series to bring community leader awareness to the topic and to help rural health leaders convene conversations in their communities about the problem and potential solutions. We are creating several more videos diving deeper into the stories of the people featured in our first short video in order to demonstrate that anyone can volunteer in rural EMS.

What I’m currently reading: Thinking in an Emergency by Elaine Scarry

Favorite thing about working at a SORH: I love working with rural community members and supporting health service development in rural areas. I also love that the SORH work changes as population health, policies, and priorities change so the work always stays interesting.

Favorite quote: “It’s not the critic who counts…” -Theodore Roosevelt.
When I was 9, my dad hung the entire quote up in our bathroom, so every time we were in there we read it. To this day, I have it memorized and it rings true so often in our SORH work. It’s easy to criticize others’ work or find all the reasons we can’t do something. It’s much harder to actually accomplish something and facilitate positive change, and that’s the work that matters in the end.

If I weren’t doing this, I would be… At the park with my kids!

3 great things about rural health in Washington:

  1. Every community is unique in population, assets, and geography. We have mountains, ocean, desert, plains and rainforest all in our rural areas, and each one has unique characteristics of the communities living there.
  2. There are some very geographically isolated areas with one road in and one road out, with thriving and creative communities living in the middle of them.
  3. We have some great rural health leadership across the state!

December 2017

i Feb 23rd No Comments by
Melinda Merrell
South Carolina Office of Rural Health
Senior Program Director

NOSORH Member Since: 2010

What I’m working on right now: My dissertation! If all goes as planned, I will graduate with my PhD in Public Health from the University of South Carolina in the next year.

My Top 3 Goals for 2018: I love setting New Year’s Resolutions! For 2018, I’m going to have one big personal goal, which is to complete a 52 Hike Challenge (one hike per week for the whole year).

Favorite thing about working at a SORH: Hands down the people we work with in our rural communities. As a bonus, we have a great state and national partners and friends too!

Favorite quote: “Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” -Theodore Roosevelt

People would be surprised if they knew: I got a tattoo this past summer honoring my grandmothers, both of whom gave me a love of rural (among other things).

3 great things about rural health in South Carolina:

  1. The diversity of people and places which make for a rich culture
  2. The ability to leave my house in Columbia and drive to any rural community in the state in 3 hours or less
  3. The food (seriously!)

September 2017

i Feb 22nd No Comments by

Kirby Lecy
Massachusetts Office of Rural Health
Outreach & Communications Coordinator
NOSORH Member Since: 2014
NOSORH Leadership Institute Graduate in 2013

What I’m working on right now: Supporting a new rural health network, National Rural Health Day plans and some health workforce initiatives.

My Top 3 Goals for 2017:
1. Getting my physical self back in line with my mental self through running.
2. Taking more time to reach out and appreciate people around me who are important to me, impact me, and inspire me.
3. Less procrastination- time pressure does not actually make me “work better”, despite all the excuses my brain tells me.

Favorite thing about working at a SORH: Variety! Every day is a new topic to learn about, challenge to overcome and inspiration to receive. I have never been surrounded by such passion,
knowledge and motivation both in my state and through all our national colleagues and partners.

If I weren’t doing this, I would be…saving the world through agricultural empowerment -AKA farming!

Best advice I ever received: A stranger once changed the course of my life with a few simple
statements. The paraphrased version: “That only we have the power to create the world we live in. Take the time to build intention in your life, even if it is just how you choose to view the day or a circumstance. Those small actions radiate in ways you never thought possible.” The simple act
of re-framing small things in my world has opened up doors and happiness I never thought possible!

People would be surprised if they knew: Prior to my public health work, I was a swim lesson instructor and Aquatics Director.

3 great things about rural health in Massachusetts: The 52% of landmass in my state that is rural is home to the most collaborative and innovative people and organizations. Despite inequities,
they find ways to take care of one another using incredible partnerships that span public, private and non profit entities. Nothing pleases me more than when an urban area wants to learn more about these innovative models happening in rural because they are astounded by the work happening!

August 2017

i Feb 22nd No Comments by

Ernie Scott
Kentucky Office of Rural Health
NOSORH Member Since: 2012

What I’m working on right now: I am currently quite involved with the Flex Supplemental funding. We have 9 hospitals participating, which is almost like having a second Flex program!

What I’m currently reading: If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face? By: Alan Alda

Favorite thing about working at a SORH: There are no two days just alike. Each day is a new adventure! I appreciate the freedom to think outside of the box.

Secret talent: I bake some pretty good biscuits!

Favorite quote: “The only thing worse than training employees and losing them is to not train them and keep them.”

People would be surprised if they knew: I am a licensed and registered Radiologic Technologist.

3 great things about rural health in Kentucky:
1. Kentucky has an established cross-sector network of rural focused individuals who really understand rural.
2. There is a strong sense of camaraderie among rural health agencies.
3. The fact that our SORH is physically located in a rural community says
so much!