The Branch
A monthly update for NOSORH members and partners
December 2020
Thank You for Celebrating National Rural Health Day!
The 10th annual National Rural Health Day (NRHD) was celebrated on November 19, 2020, with a record number of nationwide events held by State Offices of Rural Health, rural partners, communities, providers and other stakeholders! The official NRHD hashtag- #PowerofRural- had over 13 million impressions on November 19 while the week of NRHD saw over 68 million impressions (compared to 19.8 million the week of NRHD 2019)! If you haven’t already, be sure to set aside some time to read the inspiring stories featured in the 2020 Community Stars e-book. This year’s book (also available for purchase in a hard copy format) tells the stories of individuals and organizations from 48 different states who are tirelessly dedicated to improving health in their rural community. A big thank you to all who took the time to nominate Read More
NOSORH Policy Analysis and Response Focuses on New Hospital Reporting Requirements
NOSORH is assessing rural hospitals’ response to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) new COVID-19 and Influenza reporting requirements with interest for the nation’s small rural hospitals. The DHHS requirements include 81 data elements that each hospital must report. These mandatory requirements include daily reporting for 50 elements with the remainder reported weekly. Starting November 11, 2020, DHHS began pursuing enforcement actions with non-compliant Critical Access Hospitals (CAH) and hospitals. Hospitals that are non-compliant for three (3) consecutive weeks could be subject to Medicare and Medicaid decertification. DHHS produces a weekly report detailing hospital and CAH compliance with the new requirements.

Compliance is defined by DHHS as the reporting of all specified data elements on a daily basis. There is no partial compliance permitted. Initial review of the data shows about 90% of rural acute care hospitals and CAHs are in full compliance. State Offices of Rural Health and state Flex programs are anchors of information and technical assistance for rural acute care hospitals and CAHs. If you have questions, please contact Dr. Chris Salyers, NOSORH Education and Services Director, or your State Office of Rural Health. 
Connections for Community Care Project Update
Connections for Community Care (C3) is a collaborative project with the National Association of Rural Health Clinics (NARHC), funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) to advise and provide support to FORHP and NARHC efforts to grow testing among RHCs by working closely with the SORH to provide technical assistance (TA). To date, the NOSORH C3 project team has conducted one-on-one virtual meetings with 30 of the 45 SORH that have RHCs and have provided TA to over 60 RHCs who have reached out with questions through the program email! Read More
Resources from the Center for Optimizing Rural Health
The Center for Optimizing Rural Health (CORH), part of the Texas A&M Rural and Community Health Institute and supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration, works with rural facilities, their providers and their communities to improve the quality of care, maintain access to care, and address the challenges unique to small hospitals and the towns they serve. In addition to a rich library of webinars, briefs, and other resources to help rural hospitals, CORH also provides regular COVID-19 updates and resources. Visit these resources pages today!
Rural Health Policy Update
As the calendar gets ready to flip to 2021, Congress remains in DC (virtually) to finish up 2020. The one “must-pass” legislative item remaining is the fiscal year (FY) 2021 appropriations funding bill. The federal government is currently operating under a continuing resolution through December 11, 2020. Congress will pass a one week extension to extend FY ’20 funding through December 18, 2020 with hopes of including COVID-related funding to the omnibus appropriations bill. In November, Senate Republicans released their fiscal year (FY) 2021 Labor-HHS funding bill. This release kicked off negotiations with House Democrats who announced their FY 21 funding levels this summer. Read More
Save the Date: The RTT Collaborative Annual Meeting
Just coming off its successful first-time online conference, the RTT Collaborative is enjoying its eighth year as a nationwide cooperative of rural programs. This year’s meeting will be a hybrid format, welcoming both online and in-person participants. Whether engaging residents in K-12 education, promoting peer-peer mentoring between students in college and medical school, or leading an AHEC or Health Professions Affinity Program, these activities are best done in parallel as well as sequence. Beyond the metaphor of a simple irrigation pipe, these efforts exist and are best sustained in an ecological system committed to growing the rural workforce. Join the RTT Collaborative in exploring the implications for health professions education and training in rural places. Stay tuned for further details.

Dec 24
- Jan 1
NOSORH Offices Closed for the Holidays
Featured Resources
Adverse and Positive Childhood Experiences: A Primer for SORH
Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are potentially traumatic events that occur in a child's life. Likewise, Positive Childhood Experiences (PCEs) are those that support a child's development into healthy adulthood. ACEs and PCEs have been linked to healthy outcomes in adulthood for all children. This issue brief was developed in partnership with the South Carolina Rural and Minority Health Research Center to define those experiences and link to helpful resources for greater background. Additionally, it offers three steps that SORH can take to address ACEs and promote PCEs in their state. This simple roadmap includes links to relevant data and resources to prepare your office, and ideas on where to plug in.
Rural Telehealth in the COVID-19 Era and Beyond
In this special National Rural Health Day blog post to the American Public Health Association’s Medical Care blog, the landscape of rural telehealth policy is reviewed and celebrated while offering points for sustaining telehealth beyond the pandemic. Check it out here!
Connections for Community Care Resources