The Branch Newsletter

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




Hurricane Harvey Impacts SORH

Hurricane Harvey will have lasting and devastating impacts across Texas, with the possibility of Mississippi and Louisiana seeing those impacts as well. At of the writing of this newsletter, Trent Engledow, Director of the Texas Office of Rural Health, was working the phone to be personally in touch with every rural health facility in the “declared” state-of-emergency counties. Engledow reports that there are efforts underway allowing recipients of capital improvement funds to leverage them in a way that addresses the impact of the unprecedented storm. Read More

Celebrating the Power of Rural

Each year NOSORH and its partners set aside the third Thursday of November to celebrate National Rural Health Day (NRHD). This year you can help us transform NRHD from a single day event into a sustainable movement that promotes the “power of rural” and keeps rural health matters at the forefront. Whether you’ve already made plans or are just starting to think about it, here are some ways to get involved! Read More

Congratulations NOSORH Institute Graduates!

Thanks to the State Offices of Rural Health who enrolled and supported other rural stakeholders to participate in three NOSORH Institutes. In July, NOSORH provided the second Grant Writing Institute designed specifically for Emergency Medical Services personnel. The course is a 3-part series and focuses on the A-Z in grant writing, funding innovative models of care and learning how to connect and collaborate with funders, community members and stakeholders. Eighty-four EMS personnel, representing 26 states, participated with 62% receiving certificates of completion. Read More


Promising Practice: Helping Rural Hawaii THRIVE

By: Beth Blevins

Residents in rural communities across the Hawaiian Islands have been sharing their “stories of health” in community meetings as part of an effort to build a framework of health derived from community values and practices.

“A common thread in all these meetings is that having a connection to what matters is really what can make good, positive change in the community,” said Gregg Kishaba, Rural Communities Health Coordinator at the Hawaii State Office of Primary Care and Rural Health. Read More


Policy Update 

Each third Tuesday of the month at 2:00 pm ET the Policy Committee meets to discuss recent legislative and regulatory updates. A copy of the regulatory briefing is available here. The top 3 issues on the regulatory front this month include: CMS is now accepting applications from clinicians eligible for the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) to obtain hardship exceptions from the Advancing Care Information requirements of the program; Two rural-related legislative provisions, the Medicare-Dependent Hospital (MDH) program and the Low-Volume Hospital (LVH) payment adjustment, will expire on October 1, 2017 as discussed in the FY 2018 Medicare Hospital Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS) final rule; CMS is deemphasizing review of CAH 96-hour certification requirement, which is also discussed in the IPPS final rule. Read More


Membership Survey

NOSORH would like to express sincere appreciation to all members who completed the 2017 Annual Member Survey! An 86% response rate was achieved thanks to the more than 70 SORH staff who responded. The information gathered from this survey is already being used to shape NOSORH activities. Session topics for the four Rural Health Roundtables, which will occur at the NOSORH Annual Meeting, were gleaned from the survey responses. A quick look at the survey responses show Read More


Region B Meets in Biloxi, Mississippi

On August 1-3, Region B NOSORH members met in Biloxi, MS, for the Region B SORH Partnership Meeting. NOSORH would like to thank the Mississippi Office for hosting and helping to plan the meeting. One presentation of note was from the North Carolina Office. Stephanie Nantz, Assistant Director of Operations, and John Resendes, Clinical Social Research Specialist, presented Taming the Data Dragon, where SORHs learned how to develop data-driven fact sheets on rural health programs that can be used to improve health outcomes, sustain program funding…Read More


Region C Meets in Columbus, Ohio

Region C members gathered in Columbus, OH, on August 8-9 for the Region C SORH Partnership Meeting. NOSORH would like to thank the Ohio Office for their help in planning and hosting a meaningful meeting. Region C was joined by Michael Meit, Co-Director of the Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis. His presentation, Leveraging Partners and Assets to Improve Rural Health and Well-being: Recommendations for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, reviewed how the Walsh Center is conducting formative research to explore opportunities that will accelerate and improve health and well-being in rural communities through enhanced understanding of strengths and assets in rural regions. Read More


Region E Meets in Bellingham, Washington

On July 25-26, the Region E SORH Partnership Meeting was held in Bellingham, WA. NOSORH would like to thank the Washington Office of Rural Health for hosting the meeting. Region E was joined by Emily Dilley, Director of Marketing at Columbus Community Hospital in Wisconsin, who presented on Project C.L.E.A.N. (Communities Eliminating the Abuse of Narcotics) – Opioid Abuse Prevention Program. Project C.L.E.A.N. is a partnership between local community leaders to enhance awareness and understanding of opioid use and abuse.  Read More


Frontier Partners Meeting a Big Success

Many of the smallest and most remote communities are deeply impacted by even small changes in the U.S. healthcare system and regular attention and action are needed to ensure a resilient system with the best health care possible. That is why every year for the past six years frontier advocates from all corners of the nation have gathered to explore timely issues related to frontier health care. On July 27, 2017, frontier advocates met in Bellingham, WA to take an in-depth look at and discuss issues of importance…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.

The August Board of Directors meeting included updates on all strategic priorities of the 2017-18 year. The Board endorsed a recommendation from the Development Committee to increase basic dues by 5% from $1500 to $1575, which will increase NOSORH budget for dues revenue by a total of $3750. The Board agreed to consider a joint meeting with 3RNet in 2019. Read More


RHIhub Spotlight

The RHIhub has been busy this month! Check out their new and upcoming content:

At the end of August, RHIHub hosted the most recent installment of the Insights from the CDC MMWR Rural Health Series Webinars that highlight CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports. A recording of Rural Cancer: Data, Disparities, and Determination, featuring speakers from the CDC, NIH’s National Cancer Institute, and the Southwest Rural Health Research Center at Texas A&M Health Science Center, is available online. Read More


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