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Rural OB crisis gains national TV spotlight
Jan 18, 2018 | 515 views | 0 0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print

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NRHA Today
Membership Blog Events Subscribe 1/18/2018
NRHA Today
In this issue:
Safety net hospitals face looming Medicare extender cuts
Rural obstetric care crisis gets national TV audience
Trump administration opens door to Medicaid work requirements
Resolve to turn your rural voice up to 11 this year
NYT: Rural veterans deserve better than this
NRHA applauds rural health report but not resulting headlines
Study shows telemedicine improves rural ER response
Could single payer solve the rural hospital closure crisis?
Rethinking the future of rural health and well-being
NRHA journal focuses on rural substance abuse, treatment
CHIP funding expected to pass
Help NIH understand rural pregnancy
Rural hospital survival linked to Medicaid
Get recognized: 2018 NRHA award nominations now open
Health care can be a long haul in a small town
Apply for HRSA primary care training and enhancement
Alzheimer's impact on rural health prompting innovation
NRHA partner offers webinar on service line management
 
 
Safety net hospitals face looming Medicare extender cuts
A double whammy of federal budget cuts might force many rural hospitals to scale back services or even shut their doors. The $3.6 billion in cuts will have the greatest effect on safety-net hospitals. “We deliver the same services as you’d get in big cities in New York and California but are paid significantly lower reimbursement,” says Glenn Sisk, CEO of Coosa Valley Medical Center, an NRHA member. According to NRHA, 83 rural hospitals have closed across since 2010, and the association has released a policy paper on why Medicare extenders are essential to rural health care. Our rural voices are essential to advocate for the continuation of these crucial policies, so join us at NRHA’s Rural Health Policy Institute Feb. 6-8 in Washington, D.C. The extended deadline to save up to $200 on registration is just 5 days away.
 
Rural obstetric care crisis gets national TV audience
The American health care system's dismal record on maternal health care recently received national television coverage on the show “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee.” The program cited statistics showing that maternal mortality is more than three times as high for black women as it is for white women, and the rate of maternal mortality among women in rural areas is 64 percent higher than the rate in big cities. In recent years, the situation appears to be getting worse as rural hospitals have been force to cut maternal health care services. Bee stated that more than half of all rural counties did not have access to hospital obstetric services as of 2014. But you can advocate on behalf of the future of rural families at NRHA’s Rural Health Policy Institute Feb. 6-8 in Washington, D.C.
 
Trump administration opens door to Medicaid work requirements
The Trump administration has issued guidance to states that will allow them to compel people to work or prepare for jobs in order to receive Medicaid for the first time in the half-century history of this fundamental piece of the nation’s social safety net. Nationally, Medicaid provides health insurance to a larger share of the population in rural areas and is a critical source of income for rural health care providers, contributing the economic development of rural towns. Any restriction of these lifelines for rural residents and the facilities they depend on would in turn cripple the communities that are built around them.
 
Resolve to turn your rural voice up to 11 this year
Rural America needs our voices louder, and your chance to crank rural health “up to 11” this year is just around the corner at NRHA’s Rural Health Policy Institute Feb. 6-8 in D.C. Join NRHA and rural health advocates from across the nation for the largest and arguably most important rural advocacy event in the country. You’ll have the chance to hear from top members of the Trump administration and leading members of Congress, speak directly with your congressional delegation on Capitol Hill to demand change, and participate in NRHA’s Rural Health Disparities Summit.Register by the extended deadline of 11:59 p.m. CST Jan. 23 to save up to $200.
 
NYT: Rural veterans deserve better than this
Recent government reports have cast doubt on the accuracy of the metrics the Department of Veterans Affairs uses to keep tabs on its facilities. For rural Roseburg (Ore.) Veterans Administration Medical Center, fewer patients meant fewer chances of bad outcomes and better scores for a ranking system that grades all veterans hospitals on a scale of one to five stars. In 2016, administrators began cherry-picking cases against the advice of doctors — turning away complicated patients and admitting only the lowest-risk ones in order to improve metrics. Let’s learn more about and advocate together for programs that benefit rural veterans at NRHA’s Rural Health Policy Institute Feb. 6-8 in Washington, D.C.
 
NRHA applauds rural health report but not resulting headlines
The nonprofit Bipartisan Policy Center, along with the independent Center for Outcomes Research and Education, recently released a report studying the cost of care, its availability, and innovative payment methods for rural Midwest communities. NRHA appreciates the work that has been done to explore and acknowledge the unique needs of rural communities, and we believe that these issues shouldn’t be partisan. NRHA does, however, have some concerns with the conclusions of the report and many of the sensationalized headlines being generated from it.
 
Study shows telemedicine improves rural ER response
Emergency department patients at rural hospitals using telemedicine see a clinician six minutes sooner than patients in hospitals that have no such technology, according to a new study that looked at data from 14 hospitals in Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. If that first clinician assessment is through a telemedicine encounter, as was the case in 42 percent of the interactions examined in the study, the door-to-provider time is shortened by nearly 15 minutes, says study lead author Nicholas Mohr, MD, of the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, an NRHA member. Let’s demand our representatives reduce telemedicine restrictions in person at NRHA’s Rural Health Policy InstituteFeb. 6-8 in Washington, D.C.
 
Could single-payer solve the rural hospital closure crisis?
America’s rural hospitals are closing at an alarming rate. According to the North Carolina Rural Health Research Program, an NRHA member, there were 72 rural hospital closures between 2010 and 2016, and hundreds more are on the brink of closure. A single-payer health care system offers one possible solution, uncoupling capital investment in health care from individual hospital operating budgets and profitability and focusing instead on community need. In lieu of that possibility, we must demand that members of Congress pursue solutions to the rural hospital closure crisis, including NRHA’s Save Rural Hospitals Act. Our chance to join together as one rural voice is Feb. 6-8 at NRHA’s Rural Health Policy Institute in Washington, D.C.
 

Upcoming events 

 Rural Health Policy Institute

Feb. 6-8

Washington D.C.

Annual Rural Health Conference

May 8-11

New Orleans, La.

Rural Hospital Innovation Summit

May 8-11

New Orleans, La.

Health Equity Conference

May 8

New Orleans, La.

Rural Medical Education Conference

May 8

New Orleans, La.

Rural Health Clinic Conference

Sept. 25-26

Kansas City, Mo.

Critical Access Hospital Conference

Sept. 26-28

Kansas City, Mo.

Rural Horizons spotlight
Rethinking the future of rural health and well-being
Rural communities vary a great deal in terms of population, infrastructure, remoteness and culture. But in general, they are fundamentally different from cities along all of those same dimensions. It stands to reason, then, that the health care system that works well in rural America would be qualitatively different from the health care system that works well in cities.

While that probably sounds obvious to most, the habits and assumptions with which federal agencies pursue rural health improvement do not always reflect this understanding. Federal programs tend to focus on expanding rural residents’ access to the type of health care that works in cities, for example, by incentivizing physicians to practice in rural areas rather than strengthening a form of health care that fits the rural context.

Federal efforts to achieve parity between urban and rural health care may be unfeasible — and even counterproductive. So what kind of thinking would set us up for success?

 

NRHA journal focuses on rural substance abuse, treatment
The latest issue of NRHA’s Journal of Rural Health focuses specifically on the various aspects of substance abuse and treatment in rural areas. Original articles highlight rural and Appalachian disparities in neonatal abstinence syndrome; medication-assisted opioid treatment capacity in federally qualified health centers; injection drug use among rural Appalachian women; differences in HIV care among rural, metropolitan and urban residents; and perceived barriers and facilitators to providing methadone maintenance treatment. Your chance to review and advocate for real-world solutions to the rural opioid epidemic with hundreds of advocates from across the country is NRHA’s Rural Health Policy Institute Feb. 6-8 in Washington, D.C.
 
CHIP funding expected to pass
The GOP tax overhaul's repeal of the individual mandate has unexpectedly saved the Children's Health Insurance Program at the 11th hour—and has added at least a year to the funding extension. According to Modern Healthcare, CHIP is "very likely" to go as a stand-alone with six years of funding appropriated, even as Republicans and Democrats alike say they'd like to pay for 10 years. NRHA is pleased Congress has finally moved on funding CHIP, but without essential funding for rural Medicare extenders and Community Health Centers, CHIP beneficiaries will have nowhere to receive care locally.
 
Help NIH understand rural pregnancy
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) PregSource research project aims to improve national maternity care by getting firsthand accounts of the physical and emotional aspects of pregnancy, labor, delivery and early parenthood in rural areas. Women have no hospital obstetric services in as many as 45 percent of rural counties, and recent research shows the losses continue. Rural health care providers may also consider implementing model programs to improve their prenatal and obstetric care. Providers and researchers may also be interested in the HRSA Maternal and Child Health Bureau challenge competition offering $375,000 in prizes to innovators who develop low-cost technologies to improve prenatal care in remote and medically underserved areas.
 
Rural hospital survival linked to Medicaid
Medicaid expansion significantly boosted the survivability of state hospitals and helped shore up local economies that would have suffered under hospital closures, according to researchers from the University of Colorado's School of Public Health. The results have serious policy implications moving forward as Congress continues its efforts to unravel the ACA. Hospitals in states that expanded Medicaid were 84 percent less likely to close than hospitals in non-expansion states. The recent expiration of another provision for home health workers may force more elderly adults in rural areas to live in nursing homes.
 
Get recognized: 2018 NRHA award nominations now open
The time has come to acknowledge your favorite rural health individualprogram or organization so they may be honored nationally for their contributions to rural health. Previous recipients have stretched the boundaries of possibility by forging innovative programs and services, making rural life healthier and more compassionate. Nominations for NRHA’s 2018 Rural Health Awards recipients, to be honored at the 41st Annual Rural Health Conference May 10 in New Orleans, are now open with an entry deadline of Feb. 19.
 
Health care can be a long haul in a small town
Access to transportation for older adults in rural areas can make the difference between good care and deteriorating health. It is also key to one’s basic quality of life. In far too many places, people are left without any transportation options, but organizations throughout the country are beginning to tackle the problem. “While rural areas face numerous obstacles in providing transportation that meets the health needs of older adults, many innovative programs have been initiated that help address these challenges,” says Carol Wright Kenderdine of the National Aging and Disability Transportation Center, which awarded six grants of up to $50,000 each last year to “increase accessible transportation options for older adults and people with disabilities” who aren’t living in retirement homes.
 
Apply for HRSA primary care training and enhancement
The Health Resources and Services Administration Bureau of Health Workforce Division of Medicine and Dentistry is accepting applications for the fiscal year 2018 Primary Care Training and Enhancement: Training Primary Care Champions program. The purpose of this program is to strengthen primary care and the workforce by establishing fellowship programs to train community-based practicing primary care physician and/or physician assistant champions to lead health care transformation and enhance teaching in community–based settings. The application deadline is Jan. 30.
 
Alzheimer's impact on rural health prompting innovation
In rural areas, a rising numbers of older residents are being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. But in a recent piece for RAC Monitor, NRHA member Janelle Ali-Dinar shows how rural health care providers are innovating to fight the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s in their communities. “Rural health care isn’t sitting back waiting for things to change in policy; instead they have been creating bold innovative solutions that are showing positive results and can be duplicated,” Ali-Dinar writes, going on to cite several examples of programs providing care and support to Alzheimer’s patients and their families, including several NRHA members.
 
NRHA partner offers webinar on service line management
NRHA partner Synergy Surgicalists will host a webinar at 2 p.m. CST Jan. 25 on using service line management to create a consistent orthopedic and general surgery practice in rural hospitals. Learn why you should focus on orthopedic and general surgery service lines; what is service line management; how to get started and stay focused; and how to celebrate successes and overcome challenges. 
 
National Rural Health Association

816.756.3140

4501 College Blvd. Suite 225, Leawood, KS 66211
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