The Branch
A monthly update for NOSORH members and partners
September 2019
Annual Meeting Keynote to Feature The Providers
Time to get registered and make your travel arrangements because next month is the NOSORH Annual Meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico!
This year’s keynote address will feature Matt Probst, Medical Director and Chief Quality Officer at El Centro Family Health, and the filmmakers from the documentary The Providers ! This award-winning film follows three healthcare providers from El Centro as they work to make a difference for patients in rural New Mexico amid an opioid epidemic and physician shortages.The keynote session will dive in to how the themes and content in the film can be used to educate policymakers, spur new discussions and reshape narratives. 

Click here for the meeting registration and other meeting details. If you have any issues with reserving your lodging, please contact Donna Pfaendtner . See you in Albuquerque!
It's Not Too Late to "Plug In" to a NOSORH Partnership
Our sincere thanks to all who have already invested in the Power of Rural and the NOSORH mission. We greatly appreciate your support and commitment to rural health! If you haven't committed to a NOSORH partnership yet, it's not too late! Explore the many partnership opportunities in the 2019 Partnership Invitation and be sure to register by September 17 to reserve a spot at our Annual Meeting. There will be a welcome reception for partners and attendees on the evening of October 15, plus plenty of opportunities for networking throughout the meeting.
National Rural Health Day Toolkits Available Next Week

Help us celebrate the #PowerofRural on National Rural Health Day (NRHD) this November 21! Check out all the latest news, events and resources by visiting the NRHD website-

Available next week- SORH and Community Engagement Toolkits! These toolkits will be full of free, customizable resources to help with your NRHD activities.

Coming soon- New SWAG available to purchase! Show your Power of Rural spirit with new shirts, tumblers, notepads, and more!

Invite rural hospitals, health clinics, etc. in your state to host a free  Walk with a Doc   community walk on NRHD. Walk with a Doc is a fun and easy way to engage communities in better health and celebrate the Power of Rural.

Follow NOSORH on   Facebook / Twitter and use the   #PowerofRural  in every post! Downloadable social media graphics will be available in each toolkit.
Rural Policy Update
Appropriations Update: The Senate Appropriations Labor-HHS Subcommittee will mark-up its annual appropriations bill on September 10. The committee has yet to introduce the Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 spending bill. With the Senate returning on September 9, Congress will only have 13 legislative days to pass a spending bill or extend current levels for federal agencies by September 30, 2019. 

In June, the House passed a nearly $1 trillion spending bill (H.R. 2740) which included funding for HHS and HRSA along with a myriad of other federal programs. However in August, the President signed into law a two year budget deal in August (H.R. 3877). This will force the House to revise their initial spending bill as the budget deal included $15 billion less for non-defense programs than House leaders provided.

The House-passed version of the Labor-HHS bill included a $2.5 million increase in State Office of Rural Health grant funding over FY ‘19. Also included in the spending bill is $59 million for Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Grants and $19,942,000 for the Small Rural Hospital Implementation Grant Program.History is not on the side of a Labor-HHS spending bill getting to the President’s desk by September 30. Prior to last year, Congress hadn’t met the September 30 deadline in over a decade. 
Rural Hospital Assistance Program Now Accepting Applications
The Center for Optimizing Rural Health (CORH) offers technical assistance to 30 rural hospitals each year to help address economic challenges, understand community needs and resources and find ways to ensure hospitals and communities can keep needed care locally. The application portal for Year 2 of the Rural Hospital Assistance Program is now open until October 31, 2019. All rural and CAH hospitals in the U.S. are invited to apply for the program. The application can be found here or check out the CORH Facebook and Twitter accounts for updates. Selected hospitals will be notified in December 2019 with technical assistance provided from January – December 2020.To learn more, visit the CORH website or contact

CORH also hosts FREE monthly webinars of interest to rural hospitals! Past webinars are available for viewing on the website and upcoming events are open for registration.
Comments Requested: Rural Access to Health Care Services
HRSA seeks information from the public about measuring access to health care in rural communities. This Request for Information (RFI) supports the ongoing work of the HHS Rural Health Task Force that is seeking to identify the needs of rural communities, how to meet those needs, and what HHS policy changes can address those needs. Questions for public comment specific to rural communities include: what are the core health care services needed, what types and numbers of health care professionals are needed, what factors are important to identify core health services, and how should access to health care services be measured. People in rural communities face a range of health disparities , including greater obesity and disease burden in children and adults, higher mortality rates, and shorter life expectancy. Rural areas also have fewer health professionals per person compared to urban areas. Responses due by Oct 9.
NOSORH Promising Practice
NY State Office of Rural Health Leans Into More Efficient Work
by Beth Blevins

Using Lean , a concept originally developed to eliminate waste in Japanese manufacturing, the New York State Office of Rural Health (NYSORH) recently embarked on a project to find more efficiency in the way its operates. The effort was part of the New York State’s broader Lean Initiative .
“This seemed very bureaucratic when we first began and we were not entirely enthusiastic about it,” said Karen Madden, NYSORH Director, “but we knew that it was something that we needed to do. So we decided to have open minds about it. We took a lot of time to be prepared and reviewed all of our data prior to our first Lean meeting, which allowed us to hit the process running.” Read More
Past Promising Practice articles can be found here on the NOSORH website

NOSORH Annual Meeting
Albuquerque, New Mexico
National Rural Health Day!

New Guide: Engagement with SORH and CDC-funded State Programs
Over the past year, NOSORH has worked collaboratively with partners from FORHP, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC), and SORH to develop the Best Practice Guide for Engagement with SORH and CDC-funded State Programs. This practical guide is intended for SORH and CDC-funded program staff, identifying opportunities for collaboration across programs at the state level. Each of the state models that are highlighted take a different approach, ranging from resource linkages to office mergers. All SORH are encouraged to not only read this, but to share it with your state CDC partners and engage in a discussion on how you can work more collaboratively moving forward.
Issue Brief: Planning, Conducting and Leveraging PCO Needs Assessments
State and territorial Primary Care Offices must complete a unique community-based health needs assessment as a component of their funding from the HRSA Bureau of Health Workforce (BHW). PCOs receive direct guidance from BHW that identifies differences between a traditional PCO needs assessment and a community-based health needs assessment.  This issue brief  is intended to build foundational knowledge regarding the PCO needs assessment, highlight the components that are unique to PCOs, and offer resources on promising practices identified through publicly available needs assessments and public health organizations
Elder Justice Initiative Releases State-Specific Elder Abuse Fact Sheets
On World Elder Abuse Awareness Day 2018, the U.S. Departments of Justice and Agriculture released a Joint Statement of Action to promote elder justice in rural and tribal communities. Rural and tribal communities face unique challenges in their efforts to combat elder abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation. Broader geographical areas can mean higher rates of social isolation, scattered resources and fewer services in rural communities. These factors can increase the risk of elder abuse and financial exploitation.
To increase awareness of elder abuse and how to respond, the Elder Justice Initiative has released state and territory-specific online flyers. These flyers contain links to learn about adult protective services, how to report elder abuse, a neighborhood map to find state resources, and much more. There is also a Rural and Tribal Elder Justice Resource Guide with resources for rural and tribal professionals.