Strength Through Collaboration
A year into the COVID-19 pandemic
Modern Healthcare invites ICAHN's Pat Schou
to forward-think needs, goals of rural providers

From staffing woes to financial struggles, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated an already fragile environment for rural hospitals. A recent report from the Chartis Center for Rural Health suggested that 46% of rural hospitals are contending with negative operating margins. In the March 15, 2021 edition of Modern Healthcare, Managing Editor Matthew Weinstock speaks with Pat Schou, ICAHN Executive Director and immediate National Rural Health Association Past President, about the long-term needs facing rural providers, as well as challenges experienced on the COVID-19 vaccination front.

HHS to invest $250 million
COVID-19 response to underserved populations

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services announced a community-level program for vulnerable populations, including those in rural areas, and racial and ethnic minorities. The new initiative, "Advancing Health Literacy to Enhance Equitable Community Responses to COVID-19," is expected to fund approximately 43 projects in rural communities and 30 projects in urban communities for two years to encourage COVID-19 safety and vaccinations. Applications are due on Tuesday, April 20, 2021.

IDPH announces UPW program
Providers to receive up to $50,000 in loan repayment

In an effort to keep doctors in rural populations, the Illinois Department of Public Health's Center for Rural Health will soon be announcing the Underserved Physician Workforce Program (UPW) and the possibility of offering qualified physicians up to $50,000 in educational loan repayment in the fields of general surgery, obstetrics/gynecology, family practice, internal medicine, pediatrics, and emergency medicine for two years of fulltime service to a rural community. A website to obtain applications will soon be made available.

Building a rural integrated network
ICAHN, CAH leadership offers solutions

ICAHN Executive Director Pat Schou, Rob Schmitt, Paul Skowron, and Don Williams all share insights on "Building a Rural Integrated Network for Specialty Care" in an article recently published in the National Rural Health Association's 'Rural Horizons: The Landscape of Rural Health."

Schou named NRHA Volunteer of Year
Dedicated to improving the health of rural America

Pat Schou, ICAHN Executive Director and immediate Past President of the National Rural Health Association, was recently named NRHA's 2020 "Volunteer of the Year." "We're extremely proud of this year's winners, particularly because of the extra challenges rural healthcare providers have faced since the COVID-19 pandemic began," said NRHA CEO Alan Morgan. "They have each made tremendous strides to advance rural healthcare, and we're confident they will continue to help improve the lives of rural Americans."

Memorial Hospital opens new med-surg unit
Features incorporated for patient comfort, safety

Chester's Memorial Hospital recently opened its new medical-surgical and intensive care units. "We are extremely grateful for the design and construction of our new medical-surgical unit," said Brett Bollmann, CEO. "The primary goal of the new med-surg project is to improve patient safety, comfort, and work flow for our staff. We anticipate that the added enhancements will greatly improve the customer experience, along with the continued exceptional medical care."

Vendor education: The Compliance Team
Hill provides insight on RHC, PCMH accreditation

Kate Hill, RN, VP of Clinical Services, details The Compliance Team's Rural Health Clinic and Patient Centered Medical Home accreditation programs. The Compliance Team is among ICAHN's Blue Star Partners.

Employee Spotlight: Ryan Morgan
Providing remote access capabilities to hospitals

Ryan Morgan, ICAHN's Chief Information Security Officer, has spent much of the past year helping critical access and small, rural hospitals keep running even when employees are working remotely due to the pandemic. Ryan also used what little spare time he has to focus on receiving his Master's degree in cybersecurity management and attaining his CISSP certification, which is internationally recognized.

2021 ICAHN Rural Health Fellowship Program
The inaugural class of the ICAHN Rural Health Fellowship began its eight-month leadership journey at a live, socially distanced event kick-off on October 28 in Springfield. Deepanjali Dummi of Memorial Hospital, Chester, and Nancy Allen of ICAHN offer insights into the leadership program and invite others to participate in the 2022 session. Click below to read their stories.
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