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September 2019 Newsletter

Dear Iowa Rural Health Clinics,

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself. My name is Emily Vogt and I am the new Emerging Programs Manager with the Iowa Primary Care Association. I will be taking IARHC management and support responsibilities over from Erica moving forward. I’m looking forward to working with you all, learning from you and supporting your efforts to provide quality health care in your communities.

Please join me in congratulating Erica on her new baby girl!

My contact information is below. Please do not hesitate to contact me with questions, assistance or to provide suggestions for the newsletter, meetings, annual conference, etc. It’s my goal to serve the needs of IARHC members and I appreciate open lines of communication!

Thank you,

Emily Vogt
evogt@iowapca.org
515-333-8372


 
Policy, Payor and Medicare Managed Care Updates
INFORMATIONAL LETTER NO. 2044-MC-FFS | Click here
 

Rural Health Modernization Act

Earlier this year, Senator John Barrasso of New York and Representative Adrian Smith of Nebraska introduced the Rural Health Modernization Act of 2019 (S. 1037 and H.R. 2788). This bipartisan bill provides regulatory relief for rural health clinics while also improving reimbursements for these important facilities. A summary of the bill can be found here. The bill:
  • Updates how advanced practice clinicians are utilized by RHCs, bringing the statute up to date with current state laws.
  • Updates the statute regarding laboratory requirements and delivery of telehealth services.
  • Increases reimbursements for RHCs. Currently, RHCs are paid an all-inclusive rate for the care they provide. This rate has not been legislatively updated since 1988. This legislation updates reimbursements to better reflect the quality of care provided by RHCs.
We encourage each of you to reach out to your Members of Congress to ask them to support this bill. Representative Dave Loebsack was an original co-sponsor and Representative Cindy Axne has also co-sponsored the legislation.

Funding Opportunities

HRSA Rural Health Network Development Planning Program 
November 29

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) expects to invest approximately $2 million for this program that helps rural communities develop integrated health care networks, specifically those who do not have a formal history of collaboration. Up to 20 awards will be made to public or nonprofit private rural entities that represent a network and/or consortium of three or more participants.  The goals of the program are to expand access to quality care in underserved areas by creating efficiencies and coordination of care across multiple providers to strengthen the rural health care system.  The program is competitive every year and assists rural health care networks increase the use of health information technology, transition from volume-based to value-based care, and explore alternative health care delivery models. For more information, click here.
 
Rural Health Network Development Program 
November 25

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) announced a new Notice of Funding Opportunity for the RuralHealth Network Development Program (Network Development). This program will support up to 46 applicant organizations, which are either public or nonprofit private rural entities who represent a network of three or more separate, existing health care entities. HRSA expects to invest approximately $13 million for this program to support integrated rural health care networks that combine the functions of the network entities and include skilled, experienced staff, with a high functioning network board, to address the health care needs of the targeted rural community. For more information, click here.
 
USDA Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee Program 
September 30

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) furnishes loans and loan guarantees for the costs of construction, improvement, and acquisition of facilities and equipment for broadband service in rural areas. Eligible entities are corporations, limited liability companies, tribal organizations, and state or local governments in rural areas where at least 15 percent of households do not have broadband services. See Electronic Code of Federal Regulations part 1738 for further details on eligible rural areas. For more information, click here.
 
USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) 
October 31

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) lists health care facilities as eligible for grant and loan guarantees for the purchase, installation and construction of renewable energy systems. These may include solar, wind, and hydrogen powered energy systems, or they may be energy-efficient improvements made to heating/ventilation/air conditioning systems or lighting, insulation, cooling and refrigeration systems. Eligible applicants are small businesses and agricultural producers in eligible rural areas. For more information, click here.

Grants for Transportation of Veterans in Highly Rural Areas 
October 31

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will invest $500,000 to support transportation programs in counties with fewer than seven people per square mile. Only Veterans Service Organizations recognized by the VA are eligible to apply. While there is separate funding for current grantees of the Highly Rural Transportation Grant program this announcement, closing October 31, is for new grantees only. For more information, click here.

Articles and Updates

Primary Health Care’s Addiction Treatment Recognized for Effectiveness 

The Addiction Policy Forum, a leading national nonprofit, has recognized Primary Health Care’s Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) program as an innovative program that addresses addictions and provides support for families and communities. "Counseling only has a 6-10% efficacy rate," said Dr. Alan Bollinger, a pain management doctor with PHC in Des Moines. "With MAT, there’s 60-80% success rate for treatment retention. That decreases the risk of overdose. We want to normalize the use of MAT. It is a treatment, just like other diseases have treatments." Primary Health Care works closely with the Substance Abuse Treatment Unit of Iowa in Marshalltown to provide counseling and behavioral health services to their MAT patients. The program expanded to other Primary Health Care locations and also works with the jail, providing naltrexone and giving presentations throughout the community. In 2018, Primary Health Care provided MAT services to 222 patients in Des Moines, Marshalltown and Ames. 
 

Innovations to Foster Evidence-based Care in Learning Health Systems: Ideas from the AHRQ Evidence-based Practice Centers

This is a time of rapid change for health systems. New technologies, infrastructure, incentives and understanding increase the ways that health systems can improve patient care by tracking and using their own internal data. To read more, click here.
 

Facilitating Transformational Change in Primary Care

I was recently recalling a trip to a national conference in Boston where I crossed paths with a fellow physician assistant who was working in a primary care practice. “Becoming a medical home was the hardest thing we ever did,” she said. “Everyone hated it, and we would never do it again.”

Her assessment surprised me because I knew that, over time, her practice had become a top performer in her State. I wanted to understand: How did the practice solve its problems? How did the team eventually succeed despite a difficult-to-use electronic health record (EHR) system, an outdated scheduling and billing system, and a medical assistant who initially refused all new responsibilities? To read more, click here.
 

Vaccine Coverage Lower for Rural Teens
Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released results from the National Immunization Survey-Teen (NIS-Teen) in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), providing the latest estimates of vaccination rates among adolescents in the United States. The key findings from the report include a lower rate of vaccination in rural areas. This MMWR also included a report on the latest estimates of HPV cancers in the United States, which found that HPV vaccination could prevent 92 percent of cancers estimated to be caused by HPV. To support healthcare professionals in making effective recommendations, addressing parents’ questions and concerns, and reinforcing the message that HPV vaccination is cancer prevention, the CDC has developed a number of educational resources. To read more, click here.
 

Gov. Reynolds appoints Kelly Kennedy Garcia as director of Iowa Department of Human Services
Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Thursday that she will appoint Kelly Kennedy Garcia, currently deputy executive commissioner of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, as director of the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS). Garcia will be relocating from Austin, Texas and begins her new role on Nov. 1. To read more, click here.

Webinars and Other Resources

Is the Nursing Shortage Keeping You Up At Night?
Tuesday, September 24 2:00-3:00 CST
 The looming nurse shortage has caused many facilities to explore internationally educated RNs to supplement their current recruitment of RNs. This solution can be a benefit to health care leaders who are challenged with balancing return on investment, patient safety, and retention issues. Join us to learn the many benefits of international recruitment. Attendees will learn how to get started, review licensing and credentialing, discuss immigration for RNs, and go over best practices in onboarding. For more information, click here.

NIHCM Webinar II: Ensuring Nationwide Access to Maternity Care Providers
Friday, November 29 10:00-11:30 CST
Nearly half of all U.S. counties lack a practicing OB-GYN, and the shortage is expected to grow, with projections showing as many as 8,800 fewer OB-GYNs practicing than will be needed in 2020. Maternity workforce shortages and maldistribution are of particular concern for the Medicaid program, which covers about half of all births in the U.S. Meanwhile, American women are dying from pregnancy-related complications at a higher rate than in any other developed country—a problem that’s exacerbated by limited access to providers. For more information, click here.

A Guide for Rural Health Care Collaboration and Coordination
This new HRSA publication describes how rural hospitals, health centers, public health departments and other organizations can work together to identify health needs in their community and develop partnerships and strategies to address those needs.

Copyright © 2019 Iowa Primary Care Association, All rights reserved.


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