The Membership Organization of State Offices of Rural Health
NOSORH publishes monthly Promising Practice articles to bring attention to the innovative, effective and valuable work of State Offices of Rural Health. Promising Practices help you learn about, share and replicate the incredible rural health initiatives happening across the country.
Advocacy in New Hampshire Procures More Funding for Provider Recruitment
Loan repayment is a tool to recruit providers to shortage areas. In New Hampshire, recent legislation has boosted its State Loan Repayment Program (SLRP) so that it can be used more broadly and for a wider range of providers. The legislation arose from the efforts of the New Hampshire Health Care Workforce Coalition, said Alisa Druzba, Director of the New Hampshire State Office of Rural Health.
Getting More Nurses Working in Rural Montana
In Montana, 52 of 56 counties are classified as medically underserved and ten counties have no physician. This is why nurses play such an important role there, and why the Montana Office of Rural Health/Area Health Education Center (MORH/AHEC) is working to get more nurses in rural, underserved communities. “Montana is different than other states because of our extreme frontier nature, so nurse practitioners (DNPs) have a full scope of practice here,” said Kristin Juliar, MORH/AHEC Director. “In many communities, they may be the sole primary care practice, and physician supervision is some distance away.” Using a grow-your-own approach, MORH has joined with the Montana State University College of Nursing (MSU CON), where it is housed, to get more nurses trained and working in rural areas.
Oregon ORH Offers New Resource on Telehealth Payment and Policy Changes During Pandemic The Oregon Office of Rural Health has created a new repository that houses state and federal telehealth policy and payment resources in response to rapidly evolving changes during the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 Telehealth Policy and Payment for Oregon Clinics and Hospitals uses ArcGIS StoryMaps, an interactive platform with sections on the CARES Act, the Oregon Disaster Relief Waiver, state and federal payment resources, and pertinent webinars and events.
MPH Students Tackle Real-Life Problems at Oklahoma’s Critical Access Hospitals
Public health students at Oklahoma State University (OSU) are tackling real-life problems at Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) in the state. In collaboration with the Oklahoma Office of Rural Health (OORH), Master of Public Health (MPH) students enrolled in the Designing Public Health Programs course are creating projects that address challenges faced by the hospitals.“The programs that the students create are in direct response to priorities identified in the hospitals’ Community Health Needs Assessments (CHNAs),” said Lara Brooks, OORH Rural Health Analyst. “The students are divided into groups of two to four during the semester, and they then work on a priority from one of the previous year’s CHNAs.”
Suppers in Virginia Give Rural Folks a Chance to Meet and Share Information
“Come to supper!” is the invitation extended recently by the Virginia State Office of Rural Health (VA SORH). As a result, folks across rural Virginia have gathered to eat barbecue and discuss what is going on in their communities. “We figure that people relax when they are eating, and that the conversation will flow a little freer than it would if someone is standing up in front of the room and asking questions,” said Heather Anderson, VA SORH Director. The community suppers, based on the World Cafe method, sprang out of the SORH’s efforts to update the Virginia Rural Health Plan (VRHP), Anderson said. “We know what the data says, but we don’t know what is working in a community necessarily,” she said. “We wanted to hear from people we don’t always hear from—and who typically don’t get to hear from one another.”
Sowing the Seeds of Healthy Eating in Rural Indiana Thanks in part to the Indiana State Office of Rural Health (Indiana SORH), rural residents in Allen County, Indiana, soon will have the opportunity to take classes on cooking and healthy eating through the HEALing Seeds program. The Our HEALing Kitchen (OHK) program, which began in 2015 in urban areas of Allen County, in and near Fort Wayne, has been rebranded as HEALing Seeds for its launch in rural, said Laura Dwire, Community Programs Manager for the St. Joseph Community Health Foundation (SJCHF), which manages and is the fiscal agent for HEALing Seeds. OHK is cosponsored by SJCHF and Parkview Health.
Forum on Aging in Rural Oregon Brings Together Innovative Ideas and Programs
In rural and frontier Oregon, as in many other parts of the country, the aging population is rising, bringing new challenges to healthcare and other services. To address these needs, the Oregon Office of Rural Health (ORH) hosts the annual Forum on Aging in Rural Oregon. “We bring people together who are working on aging issues, to share best practices and learn from each other,” said Robert Duehmig, ORH Interim Director. “It’s important that Oregon’s rural and frontier communities are supportive of the aging population, so folks don’t have to leave when their care needs increase.
Innovative Program Teaches Colorado Providers to Be Rural Leaders
Teaching rural providers to be better advocates for their patients and their communities was the goal of an innovative program conducted recently by the Colorado Rural Health Center (CRHC) in partnership with the Center for Creative Leadership. “Through the Rural Colorado Primary Care Leaders program, we worked to educate 48 rural primary care providers on how to create grassroots advocacy efforts in their community,” said Michelle Mills, CEO of CRHC. “The ultimate goal of the program was to create a peer network of rural providers in the state.”
Community Cafes in Alaska Give People a Say in Their Health Care
Often the best ideas on community healthcare come from community members themselves—especially when they are engaging in active discussions with healthcare providers and others. That’s the idea behind community cafes, sponsored by the Alaska State Office of Rural Health, which are being held in small towns in the state. “Last spring we told all our Critical Access Hospitals that we can come to their communities to facilitate a conversation on whatever topics they want,” said Heidi Hedberg, AK-SORH Director.
Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health Puts Focus on Rural Human Trafficking
Human trafficking doesn’t just happen in big cities in the United States—it happens in rural areas as well. Lisa Davis, Director of the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health (PORH), is working to bring more attention to this issue. Davis said her interest in human trafficking came unexpectedly, at a presentation given at a Pennsylvania Critical Access Hospital Consortium meeting in November 2017.
NC Office of Rural Health Helps Rural Providers Get Connected to HIT
Behavioral and other healthcare providers in rural North Carolina are getting connected to the statewide health information exchange thanks to the state’s Office of Rural Health Information Technology (ORH HIT) program. The ORH HIT program evolved from the North Carolina 2015 Health Information Exchange Act (HIE Act), which mandates that healthcare providers that bill for Medicaid or receive state funds for services must connect to NC HealthConnex, the statewide HIE, by June 1, 2019, to continue to receive payments.