News from SORH Regional Meetings

Region E 2SORHs in Region E met in Rapid City, SD on July 23-24, 2014. Thanks to Halley Lee, Jill Dean and the rest of the staff from the South Dakota Office of Rural Health for hosting the Region E Meeting in Rapid City.  The hospitality was excellent! Go to our Facebook page to see and share photos from the regional meetings. During the meeting, participants learned about community population health improvements for CAHs, Community Paramedicine, rural workforce innovations, RHC quality improvement and South Dakota’s mobile SIM and cardiac care projects. Read more.


Preparing for National Rural Health Day Webinar Set for August 26th

NRHD LogoSORHs are invited to share ideas for National Rural Health Day (NRHD) by participating in NOSORH’s webinar Preparing for National Rural Health Day on August 26th at 3 pm EDT. The webinar will highlight some of the work that has already been done in preparation for NRHD, as well as, feature key resources states can use in 2014. Read more.


It’s Time to Nominate a Leader!

Postcard_R2Every year NOSORH recognizes individuals and state offices for their hard work, dedication and leadership by presenting awards at the NOSORH Annual Meeting. Please use the link below to make your nominations and join your colleagues in recognizing and celebrating our accomplishments! All nominations must be in by 5 pm EDT on October 1, 2014. Read more.


Join NOSORH in Omaha

Sponsor Exhibitor HeaderNOSORH invites State Offices of Rural Health, HIT/Workforce Grantees, Network Development Grantees, Delta Program Grantees, Sponsors and Exhibitors to join us at our annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska on October 28-29, 2014.  NOSORH Annual Meeting: The Changing Landscape will feature a wide variety of sessions, including: telehealth, EMS, population health, and much more.  Please see the meeting agenda for details. Read more.


Flex Committee

Roberts, SaraThe Rural Hospital Flexibility (Flex) Program was started in 1997. A federal initiative, it was created by the Balanced Budget Act and is credited with launching the Critical Access Hospital (CAH) program. The Flex program works to support and strengthen rural health care systems by awarding grants to state governments that can be used for such things as promoting community engagement, supporting financial and operational improvements in CAHs, or integrating EMS in regional and local health care systems.

JohnSara Roberts, Director of the Kansas State Office of Rural Health (SORH), and John Packham, Director of Health Policy Research in Nevada’s SORH co-chair the NOSORH Flex Committee. One of the primary functions of the committee is to help states prepare for competitive grants and assist them in managing the Flex grant once it is awarded. “What we do is provide support and assistance for the Critical Access Hospitals,” Roberts said. “That includes helping states design programs to manage their Flex grant.” Read more.


Promising Practices

PP-HandIt was a big loss to the state of Georgia when four rural hospitals closed over the course of two years. The closures gained state and national attention, and started a much needed conversation among rural health care leaders: How to help a rural community after a hospital closure. “Four hospitals is a lot to lose in our rural communities,” said Charles Owens, Executive Director of the Georgia State Office of Rural Health.

In May 2014 Georgia enacted regulations that would allow a closed rural hospital to be reopened as a freestanding ER department within 12 months of the initial closure.  The facility would need to be located in a rural county within 35 miles of a licensed general hospital, be open 24 hours/365 days a year and provide non-elective surgery and emergency treatments. Freestanding ERs must also maintain a license through the Healthcare Facility Regulation (HFR), and cannot house a patient for more than 24 hours. To date, no closed hospitals have reopened as freestanding ERs. Read more.


NOSORH Partners with Annual Rural Behavioral Health Practice Conference

The University of Minnesota-Morris will be holding the 6th Annual Rural Behavioral Health Practice Conference on October 24, 2014. The theme of this year’s conference is Integrated Care in Rural Practice. The purpose of the Rural Behavioral Health Practice Conference is to make quality continuing education available to behavioral health professionals interested in the particular practice issues involved in working with rural people and communities. Read more.