October 2023 Newsletter

Message from the IARHC Board President

IARHC members, 

We had a successful Fall Conference last month in partnership with IMGMA. I would like to personally thank all who attended the event. I would also like to thank IMGMA for partnering with us and putting on a great conference for attendees. The joint conference was the perfect opportunity to bring motivated leaders together to learn and network. Be on the lookout for information about future events.

Last week, we held our annual meeting virtually for members to attend. Board members introduced themselves and gave an updates about the organization, IARHC's strategic plan initiatives, and findings from the needs assessment. If you were not able to attend, a recording of the meeting is available as well as the presentation slides. Thank you to our members who joined the call.

In August and September, the IARHC Annual Needs Assessment was completed to gather information about the needs and challenges rural health clinics are facing. The report was submitted to the State Office of Rural Health to guide the State on how to best support RHCs and their work. The full report is available here. IARHC will use these findings to guide our work in providing valuable trainings, technical assistance, and resources for our members.

In this newsletter you will find more information about the webinars and events, resources, and updates on rural health.

Thank you for your continued commitment to providing quality access to healthcare to rural communities across Iowa.  


Ann Wise

Board President

Clinic Director

UnityPoint Clinic Buena Vista, Sac City, and Lake View

News & Updates

Congratulations to Shawn Pieczko, 2023 Ron Nelson Award Winner

2023-2024 Rural Healthcare Provider Transition Project (RHPTP) Cohort Announced, Including an Iowa Clinic

The National Rural Health Resource Center (The Center), recently announced the five health care organizations selected to participate in the 2023-2024 cohort of the Rural Healthcare Provider Transition Project:

  • Byrd Regional Hospital, Leesville, Louisiana
  • Jaynes Family Practice, Corbin, Kentucky
  • Mee Memorial Healthcare System, King City, California
  • Stockdale, Floresville, La Vernia Family Medical Center, Stockdale, Texas
  • Veterans Memorial Hospital Medical Clinic, Waukon, Iowa

Organizations were selected according to their readiness regarding finance and leadership stability, as well as their need for access to tools and resources. The Center is excited to support these five organizations in order to strengthen their understanding of value-based care and learn strategies needed to be effective participants in a health care system focused on value.

Clarification for Billing COVID-19 Vaccines and Administration

Informational letter providing clarification to all providers submitting claims for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines and administration. Read the full update and instructions here.

National Rural Health Day | November 16

Since 2011, the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) has set aside the third Thursday of November to celebrate the "Power of Rural" on National Rural Health Day. National Rural Health Day is an opportunity to bring attention to and honor the incredible efforts of rural healthcare providers, communities, organizations, State Offices of Rural Health (SORH), and other stakeholders dedicated to addressing the unique healthcare needs of rural America. This year, National Rural Health Day is on November 16th. View NOSORH's Rural Health Day toolkit here.

Resources For Rural Health Clinics

IARHC Resources

The RHC Safety Guide is our newest resource available on our website. This guide can be used to assist with tracking specific safety and compliance requirements and as an orientation guide for new staff. To use this resource, clinics should review the guide and update the information to accommodate for their processes and policy guidance.

Click the button below to view our resource page. The resource page also includes information from HRSA, CMS, Iowa Medicaid, NARHC, and Iowa HHS.

IARHC Resources Webpage

CMS Releases Additional Guidance for MFTs and MHCs

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023 expanded the range of behavioral health practitioners that can serve Medicare beneficiaries by allowing marriage and family therapists (MFTs) and mental health counselors (MHCs) to bill Medicare directly beginning in 2024. CMS included policies that would implement this in the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Proposed Rule for 2024. The agency has also recently released a document providing answers to frequently asked questions on the details of Medicare enrollment for these providers, along with how this relates to other topics including telehealth. MFTs and MHCs can help to address behavioral health workforce shortages in rural areas, with recent research finding a much smaller proportion of rural counties lacked counselors compared to any other behavioral health provider type.

Rural Health Clinics 101 | RHIhub

Take a look at the recently updated topic guide from the Rural Health Information Hub (RHIhub) with information outlining the Rural Health Clinic program and how it works to ensure access to primary care in rural areas

Competencies and Workplace Stressors: Comparing Rural and Urban Public Health Practice

Researchers analyzed survey responses to the 2021 Public Health Workforce Interest and Needs Survey to compare rural and urban skill proficiencies, training needs, turnover risk, and experiences of bullying due to work as a public health professional. Among the findings, rural staff had higher likelihood than urban staff of reporting proficiencies in community engagement, data-based decision-making, and in diversity, equity, and inclusion. Rural staff were also more likely than urban staff to report leaving because of stress, experiences of bullying, and avoiding situations that made them think about COVID-19. View more information about the research here.

Upcoming Webinars & Events

Maternal Health in Iowa | Solutions Symposium

Join Healthy Birth Day, Inc., for a day of education and awareness on Monday, October 30th as you hear from experts across the US and state on maternal health best practices. The symposium will address the rural inequities in maternal and infant health care and share solutions. Sharing evidence-based maternal health solutions in Iowa and sharing what can be replicated from other parts of the US. Following the symposium, Healthy Birth Day, Inc. and a group of Stakeholders will continue building on the conversation and share an action plan developed from the Symposium. In early 2024 Healthy Birth Day will host a virtual webinar to continue the conversation on maternal and infant health inequities and solutions. This Symposium will focus on current data and trends happening in Iowa and the US in the maternal health areas and shared solutions. Registration is required but the event is free.

Click here to register

Rural Health Grant Writing Workshop

The Iowa Office of Rural Health, in collaboration with the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH), is excited to present a unique opportunity for rural health advocates and organizations. Our upcoming Rural Health Grant Writing Workshop offers a comprehensive two-day virtual event that delves into the art and science of securing funding for vital healthcare initiatives in rural communities.  

The Rural Health Grant Writing Workshop is a virtual event designed to empower rural health providers, clinics, hospitals, public health professionals, community coalition leaders, and aspiring grant writers with the skills and knowledge necessary to navigate the complex world of grant applications successfully. The interactive trainings will explore the basics of how to identify funders and prepare a successful grant application, including: grant planning, developing an effective needs statement, writing goals and objectives, preparing work plans, identifying key personnel, and creating realistic budgets. The free workshop is on November 1st - 2nd from 10:00am - 3:00pm and will be held virtually. Save the date for November 1-2, 2023 and use the link below to join the workshop.

Who should attend? Rural health providers, clinics and hospitals, public health professionals, aspiring grant writers, and anyone passionate about addressing rural health issues in their community. For any inquiries or additional information, please reach out to Samra Hiros or Beth Kolf.

Join the webinar
Workshop Information

Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases Course

The Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Disease Course is a two-day course provides a comprehensive review of immunization, vaccine-preventable diseases and respective vaccines. The course will provide the most up-to-date immunization information from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). The Epidemiology & Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases Course is designed to be of interest to a diverse field of health care professionals, including: nurses, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, medical assistants, public health staff, physicians, physician assistants, medical and nursing students, and anyone interested in learning more about immunizations. Continuing Education will be offered. The two-day course will be held November 1-2, 2023.

Click here to register

RHC Emergency Preparedness | NARHC Webinar

Whether you are brand new to RHC emergency preparedness requirements, or just want to confirm that your knowledge is up to date, join NARHC for an upcoming webinar on Tuesday, November 7th at 2 PM CT with experienced RHC practice manager, Scott Robbins. This webinar will provide an overview of the RHC Emergency Preparedness requirements found in RHC regulation and interpretive guidance, review the important components of your EP manual, learn sample exercises, and more!

Click here to register

Rural Definitions and Data: Changes after the 2020 Census

The Census Bureau and the White House's Office of Management and Budget (OMB) have been releasing new data from the 2020 Census this year that will affect how federal resources are directed to rural areas in the United States. Both the Census and OMB made adjustments to their criteria prior to the release of the Census 2020 data. The Census Bureau made the most significant changes to how they define urban and rural areas in over a century.

This webinar, on November 8, 2023 at 12:00pm, will review how rurality is defined by the federal government, what changes in these definitions were made recently, and how this may affect rural areas' eligibility for federal funding.

Click here to register

Funding Opportunities

Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program

The Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program (REDL and REDG) is designed to promote rural economic development and job creation projects.

REDLG provides funding to rural projects through local utility organizations. More information about the program and eligibility can be found here.

NARHC News, Policy, & Resources

NARHC Fall 2023 Newsletter

NARHC's Fall 2023 Newsletter is available. View the latest updates, resources, trainings, and more located in the newsletter.

Bill Finerfrock Health Policy Fellowship Application Open

The Bill Finerfrock Health Policy Fellowship Application is now open on the NARHC website. The Fellowship is designed for mid-career professions working in the RHC setting or a rural health care system, the selected BFHP Fellow will reside in Alexandria, Virginia for either a 4-week continuous timeframe, or two, 2-week periods in May, June, or July 2024. The Fellow will participate in NARHC advocacy efforts, including meetings with agency and Capitol Hill staff, while learning to be a true grassroots advocate and champion for rural health. Read more about the fellowship here.

NARHC Technical Assistance Webinars

Did you miss the NARHC Medicare Physician Fee Schedule webinar? Watch the recordings or view the slide presentations below.

NARHC provides technical assistance webinars covering the most current and up-to-date information for RHCs. View more TA webinars here.

Thank You IARHC Sponsors!

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Contact Us


Questions? Ideas you want to share? Concerns or barriers you’re facing? Feel free to reach out to staff at info@iarhc.org - we’ll try to help or get you connected. Or you can reach out to your colleagues by posting a question on the IARHC listserv. Simply send an email to iarhcmembers@simplelists.com. This listserv gives you access to the current IARHC membership – use it as a tool to learn from each other!

IARHC Staff Members

Hannah Toresdahl



Iowa Association of Rural Health Clinics | www.iarhc.org | info@iarhc.org