The Branch: January 2015

i Jan 6th No Comments by

A Special Message from our NOSORH President

Sheridan, MaryGreetings and Happy 2015,

What an honor that my first duty as NOSORH president is a Happy New Year message to you! I thought about using the opportunity to share my new year’s resolution, since you could hold me accountable and I would achieve amazing success. Right? No way… Although, Idaho SORH staff will tell you that my approach is from an opportunity perspective. I never initially say “no” to an idea or suggestion since it could lead to a great opportunity. Innovation, growth, new resources, and partnerships often start with a single idea or conversation. Even though the end result could be, “no thanks”, a willingness to listen, learn, and explore leads to new connections and opportunities to keep rural health at the forefront. Read more.


NOSORH Board of Directors: Understanding Priorities and Building Relationships

New Board MembersThe NOSORH Board of Directors is composed of 28 SORH representatives from across the nation including 2 representatives from each region.  This structure provides a forum for SORHs to have input into the organization to help determine strategic and policy priorities.  According to immediate Past-President Alisa Druzba, “This input really allows NOSORH to take the pulse of what is going on with the SORHs.”  The entire NOSORH Board meets in person every January to review past successes and challenges and plan for the upcoming needs of SORHs.  This process ensures SORHs continue to strengthen their leadership and policy coordination roles.  This fluid communication allows NOSORH and SORHs to identify and build new relationships. Read more.


Success of National Rural Health Day

NRHD LogoMany thanks to SORHs and partners for making National Rural Health Day (NRHD) a huge success.  NOSORH wants to build on this success and asked members to respond to an evaluation survey just before the end of the year.  Below are some of the initial results.  If you have any additional suggestions, please email Matt Strycker at Read more.


Preparing for the Policy Institute

capitalbldgPINOSORH is looking forward to the upcoming National Rural Health Association Policy Institute on February 3-5, 2015 in Washington, D.C.  Hill visits are scheduled in the afternoon on Wednesday, February 4thA webinar will be offered on January 21st at 3 pm ET to help SORHs prepare for the Policy Institute.  New state profiles can be prepared at your request.  Contact Teryl Eisinger at for more information.  Stay tuned for more details on a potential NOSORH membership meeting on Feb 3rd. Read more.


New Guide on Rural Human Services

RACHuman services play an important role in addressing the social determinants of health and controlling healthcare costs.  The new Rural Assistance Center topic guide, Human Services to Support Rural Health, gives an overview of the issues, provides key sources of information related to rural human services, and shares ideas of how rural healthcare and human services providers can work collaboratively to ensure that patients have access to the social supports necessary to meet their basic needs.

This guide was developed by RAC Information Specialist Holly Gabriel, with assistance from Jocelyn Richgels, Rural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI); Larry Goolsby, American Public Human Services Association; and Kathleen Belanger, School of Social Work, Stephen F. Austin State University. Read more.


Promising Practices: Using An Internal Evaluator to Sharpen Your SORH Programs

PP HandThe Oklahoma State Office of Rural Health (SORH) has recognized the importance of evaluating the success of grant initiatives, so much so, that they decided to hire an internal evaluator to analyze grant program outcomes. Oklahoma’s SORH Program Evaluator, Pete Walton, plays an important role in the SORH’s efforts toward accountability. Being on staff allows Walton to have better access to those working on program activities as well as records, history, and important information that may not be available to an external consultant.

According to Walton, it is important to set up effective program measures while writing the grant. He believes it is critical to sit down with all staff and discuss not only the goals of the grant guidance, but also the goals of the office. Taking both priorities into consideration, he then helps staff develop goals and objectives that are meaningful. His next priority is to establish an effective mechanism to capture data to show the impact of activities. Read more.


Medicare Hospital Readmission Reduction Program Datasets for State Offices of Rural Health

readmissions reduction imageMedicare Hospital Readmission Reduction Program datasets for each state have been posted on the NOSORH website.

Each state dataset includes information on all rural and urban hospitals in the state covered by the program, ranked by penalty assessed under the program. The highest penalty for FY 2015 is 3%. Remember that only selected Prospective Payment System (PPS) hospitals are covered by this program. Critical Access Hospitals are not covered. Read more.


National Rural EMS Conference 2015

National Rural EMS Conference - Save the Date_Page_1The Joint Committee on Rural Emergency Care led by Don Wood (UT) invites you and encourages you to invite EMS leaders to attend the National Rural EMS Conference: Building Collaboration and Leadership for the Future on May 5-6, 2015 in Cheyenne, Wyoming.  Topics include: Rural and Frontier EMS Agenda for the Future, Important Role of EMS with CAH, Community Paramedicine, Ambulance Service Sustainability, Legislative Update and more.  Read more.


Save the Date for this Summer’s Regional Meetings

whitestag Portland OregonMark your calendar now for these regional meetings.  This year’s meetings will have a new focus of strengthening state partnerships.

Region A – Annapolis, MD – June 16-18

Region B – Wilmington, NC – July 28-30

Region C – Lansing, MI – August 12-13

Region D – Austin, TX – May 19-20

Region E – Big Sky, MT – July 8-9

NOSORH Annual Meeting – Portland, OR – September 1-2 Read more.


Rural Health Research Gateway

Rural Health Research Gateway logoThe Rural Health Research Gateway (Gateway) provides free electronic access to publications and projects funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (ORHP).  The primary purpose of Gateway is to provide access to rural health services research and publications with the intent of informing and influencing health policy.

As part of the SORH role in information dissemination, this website and the optional alert emails that provide periodic updates when new publications become available may be of interest to rural communities in your state. Please consider adding this link as a resource on your state’s webpage. Read more.


Get Your Steal Sheet!

NOSORH offers Steal Sheet articles for SORHs to distribute in emails, in your (or your partners’) newsletter, on web sites, Facebook pages, etc.  The January Steal Sheet includes information on:

  • RAC Resources
  • Rural Research Gateway
  • Online Accredited Teamwork and Communication Course
  • Easy-to-Understand Medicine Instructions in 6 Languages

Click here for this month’s Steal Sheet.



Categories: The Branch


Leave a reply