The Branch Newsletter

A monthly update for State Offices of Rural Health and NOSORH Partners.

August 2018


Celebrate Great Work with NOSORH Awards Nominations!

It’s time to recognize rural heroes.  Each year NOSORH honors the work of State Offices of Rural Health, their partners, and a federal legislator for their commitment to improving rural health.  These awards provide recognition for commitment to social justice, mentoring, innovation, new leadership, and exemplary programs.

“We ask that you look around you, at the people who have influenced and inspired you, and take just a few minutes to honor their commitment,” said NOSORH Executive Director, Teryl Eisinger. “There are so many unsung heroes, and this is a time to give them voice.” Read more.


Sponsors – Be Recognized and Connect with Rural Partners!

NOSORH is calling for our colleagues in the for-profit, not-for-profit, and government sectors to share information about their important work in rural communities and to connect and be recognized by State Offices of Rural Health and their partners at our annual meeting in Cheyenne, Wyoming, in October.  For more information about how you can be a NOSORH sponsor or exhibitor and be part of Power of Rural Work, visit the Sponsor Prospectus page.


Nominate a Community Star for National Rural Health Day!

Shine a spotlight on someone making a difference in rural health and help us celebrate the #PowerofRural by nominating an outstanding Community Star!

We are now accepting nominations for the 2018 Community Stars through August 24, 2018. Visit the Community Stars page for more information and to make your nomination.

Selected Community Stars will be announced at the NOSORH Annual Meeting and featured in the 2018 Community Star electronic publication released on National Rural Health Day, November 15, 2018! Read more.


SORH Proficiencies: New Tool Available for SORHs

If you haven’t yet had a chance to review the SORH Proficiencies, now is a perfect time to take a look at this new tool from NOSORH! The SORH Proficiencies offers a way to assess and build the capacity of your SORH. It is the culmination of more than two years of work, beginning with an idea from the NOSORH Board, and using input from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, the Educational Exchange committee, a designated workgroup, and some of the best analytical minds that SORHs have to offer. NOSORH staff is greatly appreciative of all SORH offices and members that took part in the development, testing, and implementation of the SORH Proficiencies! The SORH Proficiencies includes a questionnaire about major SORH activities, a scoring mechanism to rate a SORH’s current competency or proficiency level, and step-by-step instructions that include definitions. It can take as little as 60 minutes of preparation for completing the questionnaire and 15 minutes to complete the questionnaire itself, which will give participants their scores back immediately! Once NOSORH has a baseline for a majority of offices, a report with aggregate scores will be developed.  Links to existing resources that can help build greater capacity will also be provided.Read more.


Your Input Needed on the NOSORH Annual Member Survey

It’s that time of year again when NOSORH asks for your input on activities and services that will be provided over the next year. Yes–it’s the NOSORH Annual Membership Survey! Whether you’re heavily involved with NOSORH or a new member of your SORH, your input is important as it helps shape our work for the coming year and evaluate the impact of our efforts.

The anonymous information provided in the survey informs committees as they begin planning for next year. Want to learn more about a specific topic? Let us know! Did you successfully use a NOSORH toolkit within the last year to implement a new strategy in your office? Great, let us know you liked it so we will keep doing them! Read more.


Fall 2018 Rural Health Data Institute Registration Now Open!

Registration is now open for the NOSORH Rural Health Data Institute for fall 2018. The Rural Health Data Institute (RHDI) is a set of eight 90-minute web-based sessions designed to establish a minimum data-use skill set for those working with rural health data. The sessions are designed for those with little or no knowledge of the data use process.

RHDI starts by throwing the term “research” out the window and defining terms in a way that everybody can understand. It moves through the process of collecting data, cleaning it up, and analyzing it in a way that makes sense. Later sessions help participants work through the steps of crafting their messaging and displaying it in a visualized way so other people also can understand it. By doing very small “homework” assignments aligned to the data use process, participants will end the RHDI with a one-page infographic fact sheet to do whatever they want, whether hanging it proudly on the fridge in the break room or disseminating it to their partners!More information on the RHDI can be found in the program brochure, here.  Read more.


Go Beyond the Basics With New On-Demand Grant Writing Course

NOSORH’s Grant Writing Institute—Beyond the Basics is now on-demand! This course is designed for individuals looking for education beyond the introductory or beginning level. This is the only grant education of its kind focused on rural health grant writers. Topics will include learning communication strategies to connect with funders, using work plans to meet basic grant reporting, understanding how to create meaningful evaluation tools, and how to use data. Past participation in NOSORH’s Grant Writing Institute is not required.  To view the brochure, please click here. To register, click here. For more information, contact Tammy Norville at


Register Now for Upcoming Regional Meetings

Two down, three to go!

After a break in July, the rest of the State Office of Rural Health (SORH) Regional Partnership Meetings are set to take place in the next couple of months. We are excited to see our Region C friends in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on August 14-15th.  Join us for a live session at Region C with the Farmer’s panel with two presentation; How Health Insurance Impacts Farmers’ Health and Farm Viability Length by NORC Walsh Center’s Co-Director Alana Knudson, and Farmer’s Stress and Mental Health by Meg Moynihan, Senior Advisor, Strategy & Innovation, Minnesota Department of Agriculture. To register for that session, please click here. If you haven’t yet registered or need to see the agenda, please click here for that information. Read more.


See You in Wyoming! 2018 Annual Meeting Registration Opens

NOSORH and the Wyoming State Office of Rural Health are excited to welcome you to all the 2018 NOSORH Annual Meeting in Cheyenne, Wyoming! The Annual Meeting Planning Committee and NOSORH staff have been hard at work putting together an agenda that we are sure you will find exciting and full of new information for your SORH.

We are happy to announce that the Key Note speaker this year will be T.R. Reid. Reid has become one of the nation’s best-known reporters through his books and articles, his documentary films, his reporting for the Washington Post, and his light-hearted commentaries on NPR’s Morning Edition. Reid majored in Classics at Princeton University and subsequently worked as a Naval officer during the Vietnam War, then as a lawyer, teacher, and at assorted other jobs. At the Washington Post, he covered Congress and four presidential campaigns, served as bureau chief in Tokyo and London, and reported from four-dozen countries on five continents…Read more.


RHC Technical Assistance Survey: Initial Results Are In!

The annual Rural Health Clinic (RHC) Technical Assistance Survey of SORH was released in early July and the initial results are in, with 34 states represented in the results. A huge thank you to those who participated!  The final survey results will be compiled and used to focus and solidify technical assistance (TA) offerings in the coming year of the RHC Committee, chaired by Crystal Barter of the Michigan Center for Rural Health.  Initial results show:

51% of reporting states provide routine TA to RHCs

37% provide routine TA to Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs).

33% reported providing routine TA to other rural safety-net provider types; Read more.


Policy Update

The following update was provided for our members by Hall Render, NOSORH Legislative Liaison:

Senate Passes SORH Reauthorization Bill

On July 24th, the Senate passed The State Office of Rural Health Reauthorization Bill of 2018 (S. 2278).  The measure, which was introduced in January by Senators Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), extends the program through FY 2022 and revises the grant program for State Offices of Rural Health (SORHs) to make it mandatory for HHS to issue the grants instead of discretionary.  Hall Render and NOSORH will now encourage House leadership to hold a House vote on the Senate-passed bill or mark up the House version (H.R. 5641).

With the House on recess through Labor Day, the next legislative window for the House to advance the SORH reauthorization bill will be the September-October work period.  The House is currently scheduled to be in session then through mid-October.  Read more.


Committee Clips

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.

Executive – Last month’s meeting of the Executive Committee included a discussion of the Presidents’ role at the regional meetings, employee benefits, and plans for the continuing work on the NOSORH strategic plan.  Two major efforts for the strategic plan include a review of NOSORH’s governance and the future of the work of State Offices of Rural Health.

Policy Program Monitoring Team (PPMT)– PPMT met last month to consider a variety of potential program changes including the newly released CMS proposed rule on outpatient payment, Stark Law revisions.  The proposed rule would expand the reimbursement of some telemedicine encounters for Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs). Comments are due September 10th. The full text of the proposed rule can be found at this Federal Register site. CMS also released a Request for Information Regarding the Physician Self-Referral Law, which regulates physician referrals and can have a potential impact for many rural physicians. PPMT will draft comments and distribute them before comments are due by August 25th. Read more.


TruServe Update

The next TruServe training is Wednesday, August 22nd at 2pm ET. If you’d like to participate, please dial in using the information below:

Webinar link:

Dial into: 1-415-655-0002, passcode 921 776 408#

Reminder: Add the new SORH PIMS measures to TruServe! If you haven’t already, watch the May 23rd Webinar on PIMS Measures and TruServe Collection that details the new SORH measures, then contact Mark Barclay at to discuss getting these measures into your TruServe system!


RHIhub Spotlight

The RHIhub has a new and improved topic guide on Rural Home Health Services, which explores the availability and importance of home health services for rural populations, challenges faced by home health agencies, and federal rules and requirements related to home health.

Other updated topic guides include:

A new video is available on Finding all the Pieces: Becoming an RHIhub Power User. Other tips and tricks for using the RHIhub are in the Power User Tips video series. Read more.