Favorite thing about working at a SORH: Meeting so many people dedicated to improving the lives of others (especially those in rural communities).
What I’m working on right now: Coordinating PORH’s annual Community and Public Health conference and planning a new conference as part of a new initiative focused on addressing human trafficking.
Best advice I ever received: Change is hard…not changing is harder.
If I weren’t doing this, I would be…lost in the world.
Last place I traveled to: Nags Head, NC
Who inspires you? My husband and my two sons.
What I’m currently reading: “Educated” by Tara Westover
What’s your secret talent? Killings spiders on behalf of my husband.
Favorite quote: “Don’t be afraid to see what you see.” – Ronald Reagan
Favorite thing about working at a SORH: I love being able to interact with the people who live in rural communities and increase my understanding of the challenges they face.
Best advice I ever received: From the associate dean at my MPH graduation, “Get your foot in the door.”
If I weren’t doing this, I would be…sledding with my daughter, traveling the world, or reading a cheesy romance novel.
Who inspires you? My mom.
What I’m currently reading: I just finished “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”.
What’s your secret talent? Tap dancing.
Favorite quote: “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.
Call for Presentations
The National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) invites you to partner with us in delivering high-quality educational opportunities to the State Offices of Rural Health (SORH) throughout 2019. NOSORH hosts five regional partnership meetings and one national meeting of the SORH each year, aimed at enhancing the ability of SORH to deliver technical assistance to rural communities in their state.
While all proposals are encouraged, we are particularly looking for submissions that are future-focused and encourage cross-sector collaboration. The NOSORH planning committee is prioritizing proposals that include collaborative partnerships with at least one SORH, and proposals that incorporate interactive discussion components.
Click here to access the Call for Proposal form: https://nosorh.org/calendar-events/annual-meeting-information/
Proposal forms are due to NOSORH by March 1, 2019 (with anticipated extension for annual meeting presentations) and emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any questions about the content of the submission, please contact Chris Salyers at email@example.com or 734.881.9551
What I’m working on right now: The South Dakota Office of Rural Health is currently working on Auto HPSA Impact Analysis, Flex grant docs, 340B contract amendments, reviewing J-1 applications, and conducting community assessments.
Best advice I ever received: Control the things I could and deal with those I couldn’t.
Last place I traveled to: I traveled to Utah for the Regional SORH Meeting. I extended my stay to hike and explore Lake Powell, Antelope Canyon, The Wave, and Grand Staircase-Escalante. In February, my husband and I plan to spend 12 days in New Zealand!
Who inspires you? My mom teaches me many lessons with the way she lives her life. She has shown me what it means to be a strong woman and the importance of setting goals and achieving them.
What I’m currently reading: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
Favorite quote: Always make your past self jealous!
The Grant Budget Options document was updated to support budget development for the State Office of Rural Health (SORH) grant, Small Hospital Improvement Program (SHIP) grant, Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program (Flex) grant and other grant applications. The list is organized by budget justification category for ease of use and includes a wide range of possibilities, plus a few new options for consideration.
Last month, State Rural Health Associations were invited to join the NOSORH Policy Committee. The committee heard about the election results, an FORHP regulatory update and a preview of the work of the Policy and Program Monitoring Team. For more information or to join the Policy committee, please contact Matt Strycker.
The following update was provided by Hall Render, NOSORH Policy Liaison:
Democrats Set to Control Key Health Committees in Next Session of Congress
The Democratic takeover of the House of Representatives following the recent midterm elections will significantly change the political landscape for healthcare issues when lawmakers return for the 116th Session of Congress next year. Overall, the election results will mean divided government and a return to the era when little is accomplished legislatively. Lawmakers are expected to go from one “fiscal cliff” to another as they struggle to pass funding bills that will keep the government open.
The main focus of House Democrats is expected to be oversight of the Trump administration’s implementation of health policies but could extend to the idea of “Medicare-for-all” or other programs that would move the country towards universal health care.
Shoring up the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”), drug pricing and surprise medical bills are also anticipated to be some of the major healthcare issues tackled during the new Congress. After Republicans’ unsuccessful efforts to repeal and replace the ACA, House Democrats will be looking to pass legislation bolstering the ACA’s insurance markets and cementing the law’s provisions on pre-existing conditions. They will also look to fixing the cost-sharing reimbursement issue, which saw some bipartisan support in the Senate last year and could be one of the few pieces of legislation that makes it to the president’s desk. By contrast, the Senate, which will remain under Republican control, is expected to focus more broadly on health care.
Both parties are in alignment as to the necessity of lowering drug pricing. House Democrats will try to reign in pharma by making drug pricing one of their top issues. Incoming House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee Chairman Anna Eshoo (D-CA) said she wants to hold hearings before developing her prescription drug policy priorities. Meanwhile, Energy and Commerce leadership staff have signaled that 340B drug pricing program reform will no longer be a high priority for the committee. In addition, House Democrats are expected to conduct oversight of issues such as Medicaid work requirements and the Justice Department’s decision to back anti-ACA lawsuits.
At the committee level, Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA) will become the chairman of the full House Ways and Means Committee, which is expected to add at least four new Democratic members. On the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee, Chairman Peter Roskam (R-IL) and Health Subcommittee member Erik Paulsen (R-MN) both lost their races for reelection. With the retirement of Reps. Sam Johnson (R-TX), Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) and Diane Black (R-TN), Republicans will see very large changes in their membership on this subcommittee. Since Republicans currently hold an 11-7 majority on the subcommittee, these losses and retirements should mean no Republican will be removed from the subcommittee and one will be added. As for who will take the gavel as the subcommittee’s next chairman, Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) is currently expected to get the nod over Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) because he has more overall seniority in Congress.
At the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) will become the full committee chairman and Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) will become the Ranking Minority Member. Pallone has a reputation for “doing deals” across the aisle, which could make additional opioid funding a possibility. The change in control of the House means Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) will become the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee’s Ranking Minority Member once Rep. Eshoo takes the gavel. In addition to drug pricing, Eshoo’s agenda is expected to include coverage of pre-existing conditions and investment in biomedical research and development.
On the Senate side, drug pricing and additional opioid legislation could make some progress, but little else is expected to happen on the healthcare front. Senate Republicans, such as Bill Cassidy (R-LA), will continue to push for 340B reform, but any 340B legislation that passes the Senate should die in the Democratically controlled House. At the committee level, the Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee will see no loss in its membership. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) will remain chairman and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) will remain the Ranking Member.
At the Senate Finance Committee, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) is expected to become the next chairman. Sen. Grassley says he wants to work “on improving the affordability, quality and accessibility of health care, including in rural America.” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) will remain the committee’s Ranking Member. Losses by Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) open one seat on the Democratic side of the committee aisle and one on the Republican, which are expected to be filled before lawmakers return for the 116th Session of Congress in January.
Congress Unlikely to Make Progress on Health Care Bills Before Year-End
As government funding battles overtake Capitol Hill, it appears Congress will not use the lame duck to resolve outstanding healthcare issues. While the desire to steer clear of health are fights is something different from prior years, outgoing House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) said this week that healthcare legislation will not be a priority during what’s left of the lame duck session.
Furthermore, Democratic control of the House of Representatives that comes in January has caused many Democratic lawmakers to push their healthcare priorities into the New Year. However, some policy changes could still surface as additions to a year-end spending package that must be passed before December 7 in order to avoid a partial government shutdown.
Luckily for a majority of healthcare programs, funding for most agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) was included in a giant spending package Congress passed in September. Those that remain to be funded include the FDA, which receives its funding through a separate bill and user fees. A House Republican tax bill was released on November 26, but it did not address any of the Affordable Care Act’s taxes, such as the medical device tax and the “Cadillac” tax on health plans.
CMS to Expand Medicaid Covered Mental Health Treatment
On November 14, CMS announced that states can soon begin applying for waivers to expand treatment capacity for serious mental health issues. HHS Secretary Alex Azar highlighted the effectiveness of waivers for substance abuse treatment citing Virginia as an example. Virginia received approval for a waiver in 2016 and subsequently saw a 39 percent decrease in opioid-related emergency room visits.
Waivers will allow states to lift the “IMD exclusion.” The IMD exclusion prohibits the use of federal Medicaid funds to pay for substance use disorder treatment for patients age 21-64 at inpatient mental health treatment facilities that have more than 16 beds. It also prohibits Medicaid beneficiaries who are receiving treatment at IMDs from receiving additional Medicaid-covered care elsewhere. Many experts state the IMD exclusion is a large hindrance to treatment for low income people.
Health-Related Bills Introduced This Month
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) introduced S.3693 to amend Title XVIII of the Social Security Act to provide for the treatment of certain cancer hospitals.
Sen. Todd Young (R-IN) introduced S.3685 to amend the Public Health Service Act to expand the authority of the Secretary of Health and Human Services to permit nurses to practice in healthcare facilities with critical shortages of nurses through programs for loan repayment and scholarships for nurses.
Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) introduced S. 3680 to require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish references prices for prescription drugs for purposes of federal health programs.
Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN) introduced H.R. 7177 to amend Title III of the Public Health Service Act and Titles XI and XVIII of the Social Security Act to accelerate the adoption of value-based payment and delivery arrangements among health care stakeholders intended to coordinate care, improve patient outcomes, share accountability or lower costs.
Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) introduced S. 3619 to amend Title XVIII of the Social Security Act to restructure the payment adjustment for non-emergency ESRD ambulance transports under the Medicare program.
Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN) introduced H.R. 7122 to amend Title III of the Public Health Service Act and Titles XI and XVIII of the Social Security Act to accelerate the adoption of value-based payment and delivery arrangements among healthcare stakeholders intended to coordinate care, improve patient outcomes, share accountability or lower costs.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced S. 3610, known as the Medicare Patient Empowerment Act of 2018, to amend Title XVIII of the Social Security Act to establish a Medicare payment option for patients and eligible professionals to freely contract, without penalty, for Medicare fee-for-service items and services while allowing Medicare beneficiaries to use their Medicare benefits.
National Rural Health Day (NRHD) was celebrated on November 15, 2018, with a record number of nationwide events held by State Offices of Rural Health, rural communities, providers and stakeholders. Activities this year included Walk with a Doc walks, Twitter chats, and a call to action to use the #PowerofRural on social media to create a coast-to-coast conversation on rural health. The #PowerofRural generated over 7 million impressions and over 2,200 tweets on November 15, surpassing 2017’s impressions by over 3 million!
NRHD received broader national attention and reached new audiences with many new partners engaged this year. Teryl Eisinger, NOSORH Executive Director, was interviewed on Cerner’s The Value of National Rural Health Day podcast, and she wrote a blog post, The Power of Rural to Improve Health, that was featured on the HHS Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion’s Prevention Policy Matters blog. In addition, Karen Madden, Director of the Charles D. Cook Office of Rural Health, and Dr. David Sabgir, Founder & CEO of Walk with a Doc, joined Eisinger for a Rural Matters podcast on the topic of NRHD and the Power of Rural.
Now in its fourth year, the 2018 Community Stars e-book was published on NRHD with inspirational stories of individuals and organizations who truly embody the Power of Rural. Over 100 nominations were received with 29 different states represented. Thanks to all who took the time to submit a nomination to formally recognize the work of the many unsung heroes of rural health!
There were many opportunities to participate in NRHD, including three live NOSORH webinars on rural health hot topics: A Conversation on Rural EMS, Policy and the Power of Rural, and Rural Networks: Making a Difference in the Opioid Epidemic. The presentations and recordings can be found here on the NOSORH website. A Telehealth Twitter Chat was hosted by HRSA and an Access to Healthcare in Rural Communities Twitter Chat was co-hosted by NOSORH and RHIhub. In addition, NOSORH partnered with Walk with a Doc to encourage rural communities to host a special NRHD Walk with a Doc, resulting in 17 walks held across 12 different states!
As always, NRHD wouldn’t be successful without support from all 50 State Offices of Rural Health and partners across the nation! Along with countless events promoted by national partners, many State Offices participated in NRHD activities, including obtaining Governor’s proclamations, visiting rural providers and partners, holding contests, producing videos, distributing press releases, hosting rural health conferences, presenting special awards, and much more.
Be sure to mark your calendar for Thursday, November 21, and join the Power of Rural movement throughout 2019!
For more information on NRHD, contact Ashley Muninger, NOSORH Communications & Development Coordinator.
NOSORH Webinar- Policy and the Power of Rural from
11:00-11:30 am ET
This conversation will focus on the current and future work of rural health policy, how rural citizens can communicate with policymakers and their communities to make an impact on rural health, and the impact of a changing Congress. Click here to join the webinar.
RHI Hub Twitter Chat on Access
12:00-1:00 pm ET
Join the RHIhub and NOSORH on National Rural Health Day to discuss access to health care in rural areas and the impact of a lack of access for rural people. Discussion will also focus on specific barriers to access, solutions to those barriers, and celebrating rural communities that have tackled this problem in meaningful ways. Everyone is welcome to follow along and jump in with comments, questions, and any information on Rural Access to Healthcare that they would like to share. Use the hashtag #RuralHealthChat to join. Click for more information
FORHP Webinar on HIN Network with CMS
1:00-2:00 pm ET
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will host a webinar to highlight examples of Hospital Improvement Innovation Network (HIIN) projects that address access to care and harm reduction in critical access and rural hospitals. Click here to join the webinar: CMS Hospital Improvement Innovation Network (HIIN) Efforts in Rural Health
HRSA Telehealth Twitter Chat
2:00-3:00 pm ET
The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is hosting a National Rural Health Day Twitter chat on the role of Telehealth. The chat will focus on how the use of telehealth can help health care and accessibility in rural areas across the nation. Join by using the hashtag #TalkTelehealth!
NOSORH Webinar- Rural Networks: Making a Difference in the Opioid Epidemic
During this conversation participants will learn how small rural networks are collaborating and innovating with their communities to address the opioid crisis in rural New York. Click here to join the webinar.
NOSORH Webinar- A Conversation on Rural EMS
This conversation will focus on the current state of rural EMS and how leaders are educating and bringing innovation to their states. Click here to join the webinar.
For more National Rural Health Day events, please visit www.powerofrural.org!
Those who dedicate their life’s work to rural health are extraordinary people whose contributions are deserving of recognition. To honor our nation’s rural health leaders the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) is proud to present “Community Stars,” a collection of touching and impactful stories that embody the true Power of Rural.
Community Stars is an electronic publication that is released on National Rural Health Day each year. Those featured in the book were nominated by a member of their State Office of Rural Health (SORH), a community member, or peer. Each Community Star profile is a shining example of their generosity, service, and dedication to the people who call rural America home. We thank all those who nominated a Community Star and we’re eager to have you meet them as we celebrate National Rural Health Day and the Power of Rural!
Thank you to everyone who helped shine a spotlight on those making a difference in rural health by nominating an outstanding Community Star! We are pleased to announce the 2018 Community Stars! Read their stories by clicking below
What I’m currently reading: “Between The World And Me” by T a-Nehisi Coats.
Favorite thing about working at a SORH: The amazing colleagues and partners
What I’m working on right now: Working on completing the New Mexico health plan
Best advice I ever received: To live each day to the fullest and to spread joy and happiness.
If I weren’t doing this, I would be… A chef in my own restaurant.
3 great things about rural health in New Mexico: Amazing healthcare providers, dedicated leadership and staff.
Last place I traveled to: Philadelphia
People would be surprised if they knew: I was a roadie for concerts in the 90’s
Who inspires you? My mother
My Top 3 Goals for 2018:
Get a knee replacement
Continue to work in the Office of Rural Health
Increase the number of healthcare providers in rural New Mexico