The Branch

RHIhub Spotlight

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The RHIhub has a new Evidence-based Toolkit on Rural Philanthropy. Developed in collaboration with the NORC Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis, this toolkit is designed to help rural organizations create and maintain partnerships with philanthropies. Includes guidance on conducting outreach, model programs, emerging strategies, and a wealth of resources.

RHIhub is hosting a webinar related to Rural Philanthropy on Tuesday, February 26, 2019 at 1:00 pm Eastern. This webinar will feature two rural organizations discussing their experiences with building relationships with foundations and will delve into some of the strategies outlined in the toolkit.

Two new articles are featured in the Rural Monitor:

The toolkit on Rural Care Coordination has been updated, created and maintained in partnership with the NORC Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis and the University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center. Substantial revisions have been made to the Implementation module, which delves into considerations for workforce and staffing, different populations, quality improvement, and adopting a whole-person mindset, among other things.

Several of Topic Guides have also been updated:

Did you know?

The RHIhub features conferences with open calls for presentations each week in the RHIhub This Week newsletter, but you can also see the full list here:


Committee Clips

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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.

Communications- The Communications committee met to review a summary report and accomplishments of the 2018 National Rural Health Day event, including recommendations for 2019. The group will soon begin planning for this year’s National Rural Health Day and Power of Rural campaign.

Educational Exchange- The committee reviewed the plans for accomplishing the mentoring program and the new topical proficiencies rubrics, including workforce and EMS, before the end of the year. Due to President’s Day, a new date and time will be scheduled for the February EE meeting. Stay tuned for more information.

Policy Program Monitoring Team- Last month, the PPMT reviewed and made comments on Healthy People 2030 objectives and made comments to CMS on the Child Health Insurance Program. These comments provide a rural perspective to agencies and stakeholders. If you’d like to learn more about these issues and rural policy, the PPMT is a great group to join. The team meets the fourth Wednesday of every month at 3 PM eastern. To join the email list, contact Beth Kolf, Program Coordinator.

JCREC- The JCREC heard about the successful NAEMSP Medical Directors meeting with resources from that meeting being made public soon. They also heard about community paramedicine – mobile integrated health.


Rural Cancer Connections

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Rural communities, hospitals and clinics across the country are charged with the heavy responsibility of caring for patients with higher than average death rates for cancer compared to their urban counterparts. There are many attributed barriers which contribute to this disparity and the National Institute of Health’ Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences is dedicating resources to learning more about these disparities and how to address them. The Division’s Rural Cancer Control center funds cancer centers for some focus on rural research and other resources. Information on these projects and links to those centers are available here:


Thank you to Dr. Sobha Srinvasan, Health Disparities Research Coordinator, for reaching out to State Offices of Rural Health and their stakeholders to ensure these resources are available.



Prevention Institute Resource Offers Tools for Developing Collaborations

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Prevention Institute (PI) is a national public health nonprofit that works to advance health, safety, and wellbeing through community-oriented solutions, policy change, and innovative partnerships. PI develops tools and frameworks designed to help health agencies grow new partnerships with other government agencies, community-based organizations, healthcare providers, and other sectors like economic development, education, and planning to promote health.

One particular tool, Prevention Institute’s Collaboration Multiplier, provides a guide for agencies to advance their health missions through partnerships and coalitions. Collaboration Multiplier navigates steps like identifying potential partners, understanding differing perspectives and objectives, developing and advancing shared goals, and leveraging expertise and resources. The tool has been used by groups working on issues as diverse as food access, traffic safety, and violence prevention.

For more information on Prevention Institute and their programs, visit PI’s website or contact Katie Miller at


Policy Update

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The following update was provided by Hall Render, NOSORH Policy Liaison:

Short-Term Funding Deal Reached to End Government Shutdown
On January 18, President Trump announced a deal to temporarily reopen the federal government and end the longest shutdown in U.S. history. The deal funds the remaining federal agencies until February 15, giving lawmakers more time to try to work out a compromise on the immigration and border security issues. President Trump called on the Senate to bring the proposal to the floor for a vote immediately. The House is hoping to clear the bill by unanimous consent. The agreement is considered the product of negotiations between the Senate’s top leaders, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who met on Thursday following the failure of two measures in the Senate to reopen the government.

While the shutdown did not impact HHS-related programs, some rural health programs and projects could be delayed due to the month-long shutdown. Projects including hospitals and addiction treatment facilities backed by grants awarded last fall by the USDA’s rural development program could be impacted. Congress now has less than three weeks to come up with a solution for a border security deal, however most lawmakers believe another shutdown this year is unlikely.

Senate Clears Medicaid Extenders Measure
On January 17, the Senate passed by voice vote legislation to extend certain Medicaid policies known as “extenders.” The measure will go to the president’s desk for signature since the House passed the bill. The extenders were passed late last session by both the House and the Senate but through different bills that were never signed into law.

This bill alters several Medicaid programs and funding mechanisms. Specifically, the bill includes $112 million for a roughly three-month extension of the Money Follows the Person demonstration, which helps state Medicaid programs transition older adults and people with chronic illnesses back into their communities. It also temporarily extends the applicability of Medicaid eligibility criteria that protect against spousal impoverishment for recipients of home- and community-based services. Additionally, it reduces the federal medical assistance percentage (i.e., federal matching rate) for states that have not implemented asset-verification programs for determining Medicaid eligibility and reduces funding available to the Medicaid Improvement Fund beginning in FY 2021.

Rural Health Related Bill Introduced

On January 18, Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced legislation that extend community health centers and four other federal health programs. The legislation (S. 192) would provide five years of mandatory funding for the Community Health Center Program, National Health Service Corps, Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education Program, Special Diabetes at the NIH, and Special Diabetes for Indians. Mandatory funding for the programs is set to expire after September 30, 2019. The Senate HELP Committee is scheduled to hold hearings on the programs and will likely vote to advance the bill later this year.


Learning Group Examines Aging in Rural

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Once per quarter, NOSORH facilitates an Aging in Rural Learning Group for State Offices of Rural Health. The Learning Group is a great opportunity for participants to join group discussions and informative presentations on various aging programs, projects and topics. People living in rural communities are poorer, sicker and (getting) older. With that knowledge comes the challenge of determining the SORH role without overstepping. The Aging in Rural Group attempts to chip away at that dilemma.

Interestingly, there are many resources readily available on the subject aging in rural.  Here are a few web links that you may find useful as you begin your foray into rural aging populations:

Administration for Community Living –
The Administration for Community Living was created around the fundamental principle that older adults and people with disabilities of all ages should be able to live where they choose, with the people they choose, and with the ability to participate fully in their communities.

National Institute on Aging (NIH) –
NIA, one of the 27 Institutes and Centers of NIH, leads the federal government in conducting and supporting research on aging and the health and well-being of older people. The Institute seeks to understand the nature of aging and the aging process, and diseases and conditions associated with growing older, in order to extend the healthy, active years of life.

Department of Justice – Elder Justice Initiative –
The mission of the Elder Justice Initiative is to support and coordinate the Department’s enforcement and programmatic efforts to combat elder abuse, neglect and financial fraud and scams that target our nation’s seniors. We engage in this work by focusing on the following mission areas: Building Federal, State and Local capacity to fight elder abuse, promoting justice for older Americans, supporting research to improve elder abuse in policy and practice, and helping older victims and their families.

These are just a sample of the many resources available to SORH that are interested in the rural aging population arena. If you have interest in engaging with the Aging in Rural Group please reach out to Scott Ekblad, Group Facilitator (, or Tammy Norville (


Coming Soon: SORH Leadership Institute

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NOSORH is delighted to announce the newly developed Learning to Lead: The Jim Bernstein SORH Leadership Institute. This 12-part (90 minute sessions), online Institute is designed exclusively for State Offices of Rural Health (SORH) , focusing on the skills, characteristics and knowledge base important to successful leadership of a SORH. The Institute cost is $1,000 including all webinars, materials, optional in-person experiences and a Certificate of Completion. It is expected to start this spring and will deploy a variety of expert speakers and interesting materials (including TED Talks) to spark innovative leadership thinking and action.

The Institute is designed for SORH staff in current and rising leadership and/or management positions interested in developing the unique skill set required to become and remain an effective leader and manager in the rural health environment. The Institute includes topics that build capacity within the SORH Proficiencies framework and is inspired by the Jim Bernstein Mentoring Philosophy.

Jim Bernstein and the early leaders of the SORH movement were masters of change; they knew how to work within existing policy frameworks and built sustainable programs that addressed longstanding problems. Participants will focus on general principles of community driven leadership, program management and accountability. It is that philosophy that serves as the foundation of NOSORH’s efforts to cultivate the next generation of rural health leaders.

“I’m a former student of Jim Bernstein and am passionate about leadership,” said Tammy Norville, NOSORH Technical Assistance Director and Institute lead. “I know it’s going be an excellent opportunity for all.”

Additional information will be forthcoming, including registration information, full description of the sessions and requirements for earning a Certificate of Completion. In the meantime, contact Tammy ( for additional assistance.


2019 Rural and Frontier EMS Three Year National Tactical Plan Ready for Comments

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The Joint Committee on Rural Emergency Care (JCREC), a collaborative group of the National Association of State EMS Officials (NASEMSO), NOSORH, Technical Assistance and Services Center (TASC) and the National Association of EMS Physicians (NAEMSP), is now accepting comments on the 2019 Rural and Frontier EMS Three Year National Tactical Plan. The three-year Tactical Plan builds on the work of the original 2004 Rural EMS Agenda for the Future and proposes a three-year tactical approach to implementing some of the most important, feasible, remaining recommendations. Understanding the changes in the national healthcare environment, and specific trends and issues in the past few years, has shaped consideration of the recommendations and some recrafting of them. Some of these include the “volume to value” reimbursement emphasis, rural hospital closures, the role of communities, and the way EMS will be treated under evolving healthcare financing legislation.

The Steering Committee reviewed the recommendations of the 2004 Agenda and participated in a rating process for importance, feasibility for achievement in three years, and relevance to the JCREC. The scoring resulted in a clear grouping that had received a preponderance of the votes. These were then presented last April at the National Rural EMS and Care Conference and at the Rural Committee of the NASEMSO annual meeting. The recommendations were rated by the EMS providers, state rural health officials, EMS physicians, or state EMS officials attending these meetings. They were also invited to add to the list of recommendations. During this process and subsequent discussion, attendees approved a group of recommendations.

“We’re very appreciative of the excellent efforts that Kevin McGinnis has led, said Teryl Eisinger, NOSORH Executive Director. “I’m looking forward to reading the comments and seeing the input from State Offices of Rural Health, rural EMS agencies and state EMS Officials. This plan has the potential to impact rural communities for years to come.”

All comments on the Tactical Plan can be submitted to Kevin McGinnis, NASEMSO Program Manager, at by no later than close of business on February 22, 2019.


It’s Regional Meeting Time!

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Massachusetts, Georgia, Kansas, Hawaii, and Oregon are set to take the stage this year for NOSORH Regional Partnership Meetings! Thank you to all of the volunteers who work on the planning committees to create meaningful agendas for each region’s meeting. Please note that all five regional meetings will host a half-day pre or post meeting. More information will be provided when the topics for these half-day meetings are finalized.

Region A will take place in Massachusetts in June. NOSORH is currently working on the logistics for this meeting, so stay tuned!

Region B is in Augusta, Georgia, on August 28-29 at the DoubleTree Augusta.

Region C will take place in Kansas City at the Sheraton Kansas City Hotel on July 30-31.

Region D will be hosted in Hawaii at the Courtyard King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel on June 5-6.

Region E will take place in Portland, Oregon, on September 4-5 at the Embassy Suites.

Thank you to all the host states and their supporting cast of planning committee members for helping to make the regional meetings the educationally rich and the most important meetings for SORH each year.  If you have any questions, please contact Matt Strycker at

Back to February Branch

Join us in Charleston for the National Rural EMS & Care Conference!

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NOSORH, The National Association of State EMS Officials, The Joint Committee on Rural Emergency Care, and the South Carolina Office of Rural Health invite you to join them on April 17-18 in Charleston, South Carolina, for the 5th Annual National Rural EMS & Care Conference. This will be an amazing opportunity to engage with partners from all over the country and at different levels of EMS care!

Whether you are a State Office, local EMS provider, state EMS Director, or a hospital administrator, this year’s conference will benefit all who attend with an agenda that features a wide variety of rural and frontier EMS topics. Some of the many areas being considered include developing a high-performance EMS system in low-volume rural areas, how State Flex Programs, EMS directors and State Offices of Rural Health can work together, how FQHCs and RHCs are promoting introductions between EMS and other partners, and maternity/delivery care. The conference will also be expanding by offering a set of breakout sessions, providing attendees more options and time for discussion on specific topics.

Invited attendees include rural EMS directors, medical directors and officers, rural health care providers, state EMS officials, state rural health officials, hospital administrators, elected officials, federal agency officials, and other EMS partners.

Francis Marion Hotel
387 King Street, Charleston, SC 29403
Room Rate: $226
To reserve a room call: (843) 722-0600 or 1-(877) 756-2121 or click here.
Group Code: NOSORH EMS Meeting
Parking is $17/day

For more information about the conference as it become available, click here.