The Branch
A monthly update for NOSORH members and partners
April 2020
NOSORH Website Features COVID-19 Resources
The NOSORH website has two new pages dedicated to COVID-19 resources and responses. This regularly updated content is intended to provide resources at your fingertips. The COVID-19 Resources page features regulatory requirements and guidance while the SORH COVID-19 Response page provides the SORH perspective on a variety of relevant topics.  
2020 National Rural EMS & Care Conference Cancelled
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we regret to inform you that the National Rural EMS Conference scheduled for April 20-23 has been cancelled. We know that EMS leaders are dedicated to their rural communities right now and we are thankful for their service during this time. We are rebooking for the same time (April) and place (Columbus, OH) next year. We hope you will join us in 2021! If you had already registered for the 2020 conference and have questions regarding your refund, please contact Donna Pfaendtner at
2020 Rural Health Data Institute - Register Now!
Registration is open for the 2020 Rural Health Data Institute (RHDI)! RHDI is a weekly series of eight, 90-minute webinars designed for rural health stakeholders who are looking to advance their data-use skills. Former participants have included State Offices of Rural Health, state governmental agencies, academic institutions, community coalitions and more. The curriculum is intended for those with limited or no knowledge of the data use process. Registration closes May 1 and webinars run from May 12-June 30, 2020. Click here for more information and to register!
Fact Sheet Highlights National Rural Health Day Impact 
National Rural Health Day continues to be successful because of support from our members and partners. NOSORH is proud of the reach and impact this program has year after year as we work to bring new programs, ideas, events, and opportunities to celebrate the #PowerofRural! Check out this new fact sheet that showcases the impact of National Rural Health Day 2019 at the local, state and national level. Also, be sure to mark your calendar for Thursday, November 19, and stay tuned for the 2020 National Rural Health Day and Power of Rural campaign activities!
NOSORH Regional Meeting Update
NOSORH, FORHP, and this year’s 5 host states are moving ahead with their planning of the Regional Meetings which will include some re-scheduling or virtual meetings. Please know we will be monitoring this very closely and will continue plans to hold the meetings. If there are any cancellations, you will be notified 30 days before the meeting so that you can plan accordingly. For updated agendas, pre-meeting topics, registrations, and hotel information, please click here .
Save the Date: NOSORH Annual Meeting to be held September 29-30 in New York
September may seem like it’s light-years away, but the fact that it is already April should speak to how soon (in a healthier world) we will all be meeting in Saratoga Springs, New York! NOSORH will be convening the planning committee this month, so be looking for the invitation to New York to be hitting your inboxes soon. Things are changing rapidly these days and know that NOSORH has its ears to ground regarding how COVID-19 may affect this meeting. NOSORH’s policy is to provide participants the status of each in-person meeting at least 30 days in advance. If you have any questions, please contact Matt Strycker at
Rural Policy Update
COVID-19 Spurs Passage of Landmark Spending Bills
With the spread of COVID-19 throughout the United States, Congress passed and the President signed into law three major funding bills addressing the crisis. Below is a look at the three bills and a preview of what’s next for Congress.

On March 6, President Trump signed into law H.R. 6074 – The Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Appropriations bill. This bill provides $950 million to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for grants to states. The bill also included $100 million to HRSA under the Health Centers Program as defined by section 330 of the Public Health Service Act. Read More
NOSORH Promising Practice
MPH Students Tackle Real-Life Problems at Oklahoma’s Critical Access Hospitals
by Beth Blevins

Public health students at Oklahoma State University (OSU) are tackling real-life problems at Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) in the state. In collaboration with the Oklahoma Office of Rural Health (OORH), Master of Public Health (MPH) students enrolled in the Designing Public Health Programs course are creating projects that address challenges faced by the hospitals. 

“The programs that the students create are in direct response to priorities identified in the hospitals’ Community Health Needs Assessments (CHNAs),” said Lara Brooks, OORH Rural Health Analyst. “The students are divided into groups of two to four during the semester, and they then work on a priority from one of the previous year’s CHNAs.” Read More
Past Promising Practice articles can be found here on the NOSORH website

(3:00 ET)
POND Webinar: Performance Management

(2:00 ET)
TruServe Training
Dial in: 1-646-558-8656 Passcode: 832 359 2982

(3:00 ET)
Webinar: Rural/Urban Differences in FY20 Hospital Acquired Condition Reduction Program
The Program Analysis and Response Committee (PARC) brings you an updated look at the penalties rural hospitals face as part of CMS’ Hospital Acquired Conditions Reduction Program (HACRP). Harvey Licht of Varela Consulting will review the impact of the HACRP on rural IPPS hospitals and provide all 50 states with a breakdown of their rural IPPS hospitals.

NEW! Resources for Rural Community Health Needs Assessments and Community Health Improvement Plans
We often hear our rural health partners discuss community health needs assessments (CHNA) and community health improvement plans (CHIP), but are we all talking about the same thing?

With support from FORHP, NOSORH developed a new fact sheet examining rural CHNAs and CHIPs . It explores the nuances of the terms for rural health stakeholders, as part of the broader community health improvement process. Highlighting the differences between non-profit hospital reporting of financial benefits and an accredited health department CHIP – a communication barrier for many - and offering useful tools and resources to learn more, the fact sheet can encourage meaningful discussions at the community level.