First off I want to make sure to thank Mary Sheridan for her service as the 2015 President and to NOSORH in general. Mary will continue to serve as the Past-President and I appreciate this set-up as it provides someone with experience for me to call on as needed. I also want to welcome Sharla Allen as the President-Elect and for being willing to step up after Gloria Vermie had to step down due to taking a new position. I also want to thank Pat Carr, Lisa Davis, and Scott Ekblad for their service on the board. Read more.
Congress Passes FY 2016 Spending Bill: On December 18, the House and Senate overwhelmingly passed, and the President subsequently signed into law, the fiscal year (FY) 2016 omnibus appropriations package. The spending bill funds federal agencies and programs through September 30, 2016.
The measure includes language appropriating $9,511,000 for State Offices of Rural Health for FY16. Among other rural health related provisions, the bill would increase rural health outreach grants by $4.5 million; rural telehealth by $2.1 million and the Preventive Health & Health Services Block Grant, which allows each state to address its most critical public needs, by $160 million. The rural health section of the legislation provided that of the funds made available for Medicare rural hospital flexibility grants $14,942,000 must go towards the Small Rural Hospital Improvement Grant Program for quality improvement and adoption of health information technology. Read more.
NOSORH wants every State Office of Rural Health to be prepared to tell the story of the work of their office. SORH one page profiles are available for every state. Please contact Donna Pfaendtner (link email) for information on how to get your profile.
On January 20, 2016, NOSORH legislative counsel John Williams and Andrew Coats of Hall Render will participate in a NOSORH webinar to discuss the appropriations process and how to prepare for the 2016 NRHA Rural Health Policy Institute, which is being held February 2-4 in Washington, DC. Click here to register for webinar.
NOSORH offers travel scholarships to encourage educational exchange and mentoring between SORH because SORH have indicated they learn best from other SORH. Four SORH recently participated in 2 separate Educational Exchanges using NOSORH Mentoring Funds.
Oklahoma – Colorado Educational Exchange
In late October, the Oklahoma SORH traveled to Colorado to visit with the Colorado Center for Rural Health to accomplish the following goals:
- Improve how they implement MBQIP TA activities to improve measures.
- Improve and/or modify how they conduct CAH site visits.
- Improve workforce recruitment and retention efforts.
“We learned a great deal of information and have already followed up by email with additional questions,” says Corie. Read more.
As part of our name change on December 1st, the RHIhub also changed how they use Twitter to keep rural stakeholders informed of important information. Rather than having four Twitter accounts that automatically populated with the titles and links of resources added to our database, RHIhub now has a single Twitter account that is curated by our staff. Key rural health news, funding, reports, and events are tweeted all in one place. In addition, the account shares new Rural Health Models & Innovations as well as Rural Monitor articles. Follow us at @ruralhealthinfo. Read more.
Rescue Divas is a camp for middle-school girls that aims to attract new recruits to the field of emergency medical services. The Ashland Bayfield county areas, like many rural areas, has a difficult time recruiting volunteers for EMS services. They decided to change their focus to recruiting women, who are underserved in EMS, and to develop a pipeline system, getting girls interested in becoming EMTs or working in emergency medicine. Two years ago, Carrie Okey approached Kevin Jacobson of the WI Office of Rural Health with an idea: a summer camp to inspire more young women from the Ashland area to become EMTs. “We would not have been able to do this without ORH,” she says. Read more.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary’s Veterans Rural Health Advisory Committee (VRHAC) works in collaboration with the VA Office of Rural Health (ORH) to discuss programs and policies that impact the provision of VA health care services to rural Veterans. The Committee examines ways to improve and enhance health care services for Veterans in rural areas through the evaluation of current program activities within VA and the identification of barriers to providing services. Read more.