The Branch
A monthly update for NOSORH members and partners
May 2021
First Virtual National Rural EMS & Care Conference Sees Success!
Thank you to all who attended this year's National Rural EMS & Care Conference and made it the success that it was! This year's conference had over 100 participants, a 50% increase in attendance. Over 90% of the attendees indicated they had gained knowledge from participating. The relevant, well-informed agenda brought together a wide array of attendees, including State Offices of Rural Health, state EMS directors, EMS Chiefs, health insurance specialists, medical directors, professors, trauma managers, EMT volunteers, community paramedics, and more.

A first-time guest noted, "In attending my first EMS conference, I was very impressed with the speakers, knowledge, passion, and overall best practice information shared." 

"This was the best conference so far,” said another attendee. “You did an amazing job, and I learned some amazing ways to help sustain our rural EMS. Thank you for all of your hard work!" 

All paid participants will receive instructions on how to access the password-protected recordings of the sessions. Participants will also receive a notice from the American Ambulance Association regarding a free one-year membership for attending the conference. Thank you to the RHIhub and the American Ambulance Association for their conference sponsorship! We hope you make plans to join us in 2022!
Registration Opening Soon: Summer 2021 Rural Health Data Institute
Are you a busy rural health professional that would like to learn more about using data in your everyday work? NOSORH’s newly redesigned Rural Health Data Institute (RHDI) will help participants find, analyze, and communicate data to inform program planning and decision-making.

The RHDI is a set of eight 90-minute web-based sessions designed to create a basic skill set for working with rural health data. Whether working with community health needs assessment (CHNA) data or implementing a quality improvement initiative, RHDI will provide the foundational skills needed to critically analyze, interpret, and communicate using data. Course sessions will typically occur on Monday afternoons from June 7-July 26. No “homework” is required for this course, though participation in online forums is encouraged. All sessions are recorded and uploaded to EduBrite, a learning management system, to watch at your convenience.

Click here for more information and be on the lookout for a registration link in the coming week. Questions? Contact Chris Salyers at or (734) 881-9551.
Hot Topic Web Sessions Coming to a Digital Screen Near You!
A few web session opportunities for SORH, collaborative partners and stakeholders are on the horizon! Each of these hour-long web sessions, offered under the Connections for Community Care technical assistance umbrella, will be available at no charge. Keep an eye out for registration flyers and share widely!
  • On May 18 at 3:00 pm ET, a panel discussion featuring Stroudwater Associates and the National Association of Rural Health Clinics (facilitated by John Gale of the Maine Rural Health Research Center) will explore all angles of the new RHC reimbursement methodology change.
  • The second web session, hosted by Health Services Associates, will focus on what a SORH should understand about the basics of RHC cost reporting. Participants will walk away with the foundation to build technical assistance for the RHCs they serve. Dates for this session are being confirmed, please be on the lookout for an invite soon.
  • The final web session with Stroudwater Associates will examine the transition from volume to value in a rural healthcare setting, particularly rural primary care and ways SORH might assist. The development and implementation of quality improvement initiatives within the rural primary care setting will also be discussed. Dates for this session are also being confirmed, stay tuned for an invite. 
Rural Health Policy Update
FY 2022 AppropriationsAs the deadline approaches for Congress to submit their funding requests to the House Appropriations Committee, NOSORH has asked Congress to increase funding for the SORH line of the State Office of Rural Health Grant program to $15 million for FY 2022. The appropriations timeline has been delayed because the Biden Administration has yet to release a budget request to Congress. The White House confirmed that the FY 22 budget proposal would be released in early May. The May release means the markup process in the House should begin in June. The Senate process traditionally follows the House by at least a month. NOSORH reached out to SORH and asked for them to contact their congressional delegation. Read More
Michigan PCO Finds Success with TruServe
When most people think of TruServe, they think of a data collection tool used by State Offices of Rural Health to track technical assistance or help submit PIMS measures to the Federal Office. However, as the Michigan Primary Care Office (PCO) has found, Truserve is so much more! The Michigan PCO first heard about TruServe from their partners at the Michigan Center for Rural Health and knew it would benefit their office.

Matt Strycker, NOSORH Program Manager, and Mark Barclay, TruServe Coordinator at the University of North Dakota Center for Rural Health, recently sat down with Amber Myers, PCO Director, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, to talk about how her office utilizes TruServe. Read More
Featured Community Star
Each month, NOSORH features the work of an innovative SORH or community leader who inspires collaboration, communication, education and/or innovation. The model efforts provided in these stories may be helpful to your rural community.
Ellen Hodges, MD

Dr. Ellen Hodges, Alaska’s Community Star in 2020, is a family medicine physician and Chief of Staff at Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation in Bethel, Alaska.

According to her nominator, Dr. Hodges is “the go-to person for how things are working in rural communities. She has been instrumental in keeping COVID-19 cases low in her region.” As part of the response, Dr. Hodges led a team that established COVID-19 testing for all arriving passengers into Bethel, detecting 50% of the region’s cases!

(2:00 ET)
TruServe Monthly Training

Region B - SORH Regional Partnership Meeting
NOSORH Annual Meeting
Save the date for this year's virtual membership meeting!
Established in September 2020 with funding from the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA), the new Rural Telementoring Training Center (RTTC) provides free training, tools, and technical assistance to support the implementation and evaluation of telementoring programs for rural health care workers. Learn more in this RTTC fact sheet.
Additional data and insight regarding the impact of making palliative care services available in rural communities are now available following a three-year effort by Stratis Health. Stratis Health partnered with State Offices of Rural Health in North Dakota, Washington, and Wisconsin to implement the project and the NORC Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis to support evaluation. This work will contribute to reducing disparities in access and services through improved tools and resources reflecting the lessons learned over the last three years, including a new service development framework relevant for rural communities.