The Branch, April 2014

i Apr 1st No Comments by

NOSORH Happening in Las Vegas

NRHA LogoNOSORH will hold its member meeting at the National Rural Health Association conference in Las Vegas April 23rd at 1:45pm. We will also be promoting National Rural Health Day and the work of State Offices of Rural Health during the exhibits at the conference. SORHs are encouraged to bring information about their work to share at the booth. If you’d like to help with the booth, please sign up using our online form. For more information, contact Donna Pfaendtner, Read more.


NOSORH Grant Writing Institutes: Graduates and Beyond

GWI Graphic (3-11-14)Congratulations to the graduates of the 2013 NOSORH Grant Writing Institute (GWI). This year’s class was comprised of 67 people representing SORHs, hospitals, state and community health departments, and universities. In order to achieve graduation, GWI participants had to complete at least five of the seven homework assignments and attend at least six webinars. Fifty-three participants earned a certificate of completion. Click here for a list of GWI graduates.

Recent GWI graduates have already found their training valuable. After participating in the 2012 GWI, C.J. King, the grants coordinator at Grace Cottage Hospital in Townshend, VT, applied for and won a HRSA Small Hospital Improvement grant of $300,000 for diabetes education grant—her “first-ever federal grant application,” King said. “The GWI’s guidance about where to find background info and do research was very useful. And the general review of the various parts of the application and budget etc., was all a big help!” Read more. 


New Tool Will Track Hospital Closures

No Hospital ImageWith so many threats to Critical Access and other rural hospitals, it is important that any rural hospital closure is documented.  NOSORH has worked with the Flex committee to design a “data collector” to keep track of these hospital closures.

The collector is a simple survey that will ask questions about the name and location of the hospital; it has an option for the person completing the survey to provide any additional information they have about the closure.  “We’re counting on SORH and FLEX Directors to help us try to measure any hospital closures that have occurred since January 2012,” said Teryl Eisinger, NOSORH Executive Director.  “Please take the time to complete the survey information.”  Read more.


NOSORH Resources for SORH Work to Improve the Health of Rural Veterans

rural veteranHave you considered how to make simple steps to working with your VHA resource center or VISN in your region?  If you’ve thought about it but aren’t quite sure how, a new resource guide is designed just for you.  The new guide was developed as part of a contract with the VHA Office of Rural Health and is now available on the NOSORH website here. The new guide provides information for SORHs on VHA resources, facts about the health needs of veterans’, ideas for partnerships and best practices, and Top 10 suggested activities that SORHs can engage in to address the health care needs of rural veterans.  Read more.


Coalition Looks at How Rural Hospitals Can Retain Surgeons

Access to surgery in rural areas is becoming more limited as rural surgeons age out faster than they are being replaced, according to Jonathan C. Sprague, president of Rocky Coast Consulting. Sprague, who facilitates a national Rural General Surgery Coalition (RGSC), likens this to a ticking time bomb.

“While not technically primary care, general surgery is a fundamental health service,” Sprague said. “Yet there are very few physicians coming out of surgery residencies who want to go into general surgery—most want to go into specialty surgery. And of those who want to be general surgeons, few are going out to rural areas.” Sprague added,  “Not only is access to surgery clinically important, but most small hospitals are dependent on income they receive from general surgery programs.  Read more.


Project in Massachusetts Helps Rural Hospitals Prevent Medication Errors

PP HandA project sponsored by the Massachusetts State Office of Rural Health (MA SORH) is helping rural hospitals in the state learn how to reduce the possibility of medication-related patient harm. With the Medication Safety Performance Improvement Project, the MA SORH has contracted with the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) to perform one-day targeted medication safety risk assessments at the hospitals.

ISMP recently started offering these one-day medication safety assessments with small and rural hospitals in mind.  Each hospital assessment visit focuses on one or two predetermined, mutually agreed upon topic areas in medication safety such as sterile compounding, oncology, medication use in the perioperative areas, or medication administration practices. The ISMP team meets with and interviews key hospital administrators, medical and clinical staff, and other hospital managers to gain an understanding of current medication use practices in the areas of focus. Although the hospital pharmacist takes the lead, it’s important that other hospital staff is included since they all have a role in medication safety, said Cathleen McElligott, director of the Massachusetts State Office of Rural Health. Read more.

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