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27th Annual Conference - Safety Measures

We hope to see you in November!

Rural Health Association of Tennessee's board of directors met today to affirm we will proceed with our in person event this November 17 - 19th.

Early Bird registration has been extended! Register by October 8, 2021 to receive a discounted rate.

To view the conference agenda and register, visit https://www.tnruralhealth.org/annual-conference. Continue reading for our planned safety measures.



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Welcome our Newest Member, Lifeline Pilots

LifeLine Pilots provides free air transportation for people with medical or humanitarian needs far from home.  Their 10-state midwestern region includes Tennessee.  LifeLine Pilots has more than 270 volunteer pilots, located throughout our region, to help fly people in need.  There is never a cost to fly with us and no limit to the number of times a passenger can fly.
 
Below is a FAQ sheet, for medical professionals wanting more information about our service and a passenger rack card.
LifeLine Pilots_Free Flights for Medical Care.pdf
LifeLine Pilots_Passenger Rack Card.pdf

 For more information contact Lindsey Kerr, Executive Director, LifeLine Pilots
Direct Dial: 309-306-7853  l   Office:  800-822-7972
[email protected]   l   www.lifelinepilots.org  
www.facebook.com/lifelinepilotsusa

Building Vaccine Confidence

RHA of TN Communications Toolkit 

Before getting vaccinated, people have the right to ask questions and have those questions answered so they can feel confident they are making the best choice for themselves and/or their family.

Click for a free communications toolkit to help build vaccine confidence among rural and other minority populations.

Access Toolkit and other resources

International Drug Overdose Day

August 31, 2021

Join Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and our many members who are  raising awareness on how to prevent and respond to overdose.

Inspired by annual community events hosted in Melbourne, Australia, International Overdose Awareness Day was brought to the global stage in 2012 as nations like the United States and Australia were beginning to understand the magnitude of the opioid crisis. Since 2012, IOAD has maintained it’s original purpose to raise awareness, reduce stigma of drug-related death and commemorate those who have been lost to drug overdose.

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Carequest, NRHA Sponsoring Annual Conference Sessions

CareQuest and the National Rural Health Association (NRHA) are sponsoring a pair of Nov. 18th sessions at 
the Rural Health Association of Tennessee's 27th Annual Conference.

The NRHA will lead off that morning with a session from 8:30 - 9:30am EST titled "Rural Health in the United States – Updates from the National Rural Health Association," which will feature NRHA Vice President for Member Services Brock Slabach Sr.

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Interview: Can Tennessee Improve Its Rural Healthcare System?

From WUOT 91.9 Knoxville: 

More than a quarter of Tennessee counties don’t have a hospital and a fifth don’t even have an emergency facility, though they may have an ambulance service. When a hospital closes or there's no hospital at all, rural economies suffer. It's impossible to recruit businesses and to keep employers, residents, and retirees in the area. The communities impacted by all of this are disproportionately made up of the uninsured, the elderly, the chronically ill, and those living in poverty.

WUOT's Chrissy Keuper spoke with members of state agencies, nonprofits, and social justice advocacy about what the present and future look like for healthcare in Tennessee’s rural counties.

Listen Here

2021 Academic Poster Competition

6th Annual Student, Resident and Faculty Virtual Poster Competition Information 

This virtual research poster competition is a low-cost way for students, residents and faculty to share their research without the costs of producing a “hard-copy” poster.  

Division winners and the overall winner will receive a gift certificate or modest cash award (check).

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Statement from Tennessee Department of Health Concerning Children's Vaccines

The Tennessee Department of Health assures families across Tennessee that information and access to vaccinations for children through state health departments continues and there has been no disruption to these services.

While misinformation has been circulated regarding the status of these resources, parents who need information regarding routine childhood immunizations can find resources here. Parents seeking the COVID-19 vaccine for children 12+ can find additional information here.

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As Appalachian hospitals disappear, rural Americans grapple with limited care

Article is written by Taylor Sisk. Published on www.NationalGeographic.com July 14, 2021. We are sharing snippets and quotes from RHA of TN and National Rural Health Association. Please read full article here.

Hope amidst declining health care

Across the nation, 12 states have not yet adopted Medicaid expansion as allowed for under the Affordable Care Act. None of the eight states with the most rural hospital closures has implemented expansions. (Voters in two of those states, Missouri and Oklahoma, last year approved ballot measures to expand.)

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Department of Labor Recognizes RHA of TN Apprenticeship Program

Rural Health Association of Tennessee (RHA of TN) is proud to have recently received approval as a registered Apprenticeship Program by the United States Department of Labor and a pre-Apprenticeship program by Tennessee Department of Labor.

This spring RHA of TN worked with West Tennessee Healthcare to register an apprenticeship program for Patient Care Tech/Nursing Assistant roles. Apprenticeships are paid on-the-job work experiences paired with mentoring over the course of 2000 hours. When requirements of the program are met, apprentices receive a nationally recognized certificate in their field.

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HHS Provider Relief Fund Reporting Requests

NRHA sent to Secretary Xavier Becerra a letter regarding the HHS CARES Provider Relief Fund.

In it, NRHA reiterates our ongoing concerns (already shared with HHS on numerous occasions) about the implementation of the Provider Relief Funds, as well as the newly created Health Care Heroes Sustainability Fund.  We urge Secretary Becerra to make critical changes to this program in order to support rural provider across America.  NRHA will keep you all up to date on a response or other activity from the Department on this issue. 

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United States Hepatitis Academic Mentorship Program

The US-HAMP (United States Hepatitis Academic Mentorship Program), a program of the Kentucky Rural Health Association would like to invite you to the US-HAMP Summit on July 27, 2021. This will be a virtual event for Key State Leaders.  Please refer to HAMP attachment for agenda/program about US-HAMP.

US-HAMP is a multi-state collaborative learning network to train key state leaders on the implementation of a successful HAMP model in an effort to empower primary care providers in their state to screen, diagnose, evaluate, treat, cure and report hepatitis C outcomes.  Current HAMP best practice will be discussed by state leaders in Kentucky and West Virginia.

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Call for Board Nominations

From RHA of TN's Past President of RHA of TN's Board of Directors 

I am excited to issue a call for nominations from our members that would like to serve on the Board of Directors. The board provides governance, direction, and oversight of the Association and its many programs, projects, and activities. There are several seats opening for the 2022 term year in each grand division.

Board positions are for a three-year term, with an option to renew for another three years after the conclusion of the first term. The commitment is relatively minimal with quarterly meetings / conference calls and occasional assistance on committees and projects. To be eligible, an individual must be a member in good standing and live in Tennessee.

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Educator Emotional Support Video Series for Teachers

Last week, the Tennessee Department of Education released the Educator Emotional Support Video Series to  provide free, optional resources to support the mental health of Tennessee educators, created in partnership with statewide partners. 

In support of Teacher Appreciation Month and Mental Health Awareness Month this May, the video series provides guidance, resources, and interactive activities by two licensed clinical social workers focusing on the mental health of Tennessee educators in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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Spring 2021 Leadership Academy

Rural Health Association of Tennessee is proud to announce the inaugural class of the Rural Health Leadership Academy! The below individuals were selected for their commitment to rural health and their desire to grow as leaders.

The academy will be led by Dr. Bill Auxier, Executive Coach, CEO and President of Dynamic Leadership Academy, and Executive Director of Rural Health Leadership Radio. Over the course of 10-weeks participants will complete a variety of in-person, on-demand, and group learning modules, earning a certificate in Rural Health Leadership.

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How an $8.5 billion federal COVID-19 relief package could help rural hospitals in the South

The below article written by Maria Clark, published in the Tennessean March 24th discusses the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package executed on March 11th that includes $8.5 billion in funding set aside for rural health providers. 

The article quotes representatives from the National Rural Health Association and Rural Health Association of Tennessee. (Read article here)

Senator Briggs Discusses Mental Health Parity with Rural Health Leaders

Senator Briggs spoke to Rural Health Association of Tennessee leaders on the Mental Health Parity Legislation (SB151) he sponsored in the 112th General Assembly and how the bill supports rural hospitals, providers, and clinics.

2021 State Rural Health Policy Issues

Your Voice. Louder.

We are excited to introduce a new tool for Rural Health Advocates to connect with their state and federal legislators on issues important to improving health and access to care in rural Tennessee.

Visit our Action Center to compose and send a message to your state legislator. On the Action Center Page, click on the "Bills" tab to see the list of bills RHA of TN is following, whether we support or oppose, and link to more information such as who is sponsoring the bill, where it is in committee, and to view the bill in it's entirety.

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CMS Increases Medicare Payment for Life-Saving COVID-19 Vaccine

Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that it is increasing the Medicare payment amount for administering the COVID-19 vaccine. This rate reflects new information about the costs involved in administering the COVID-19 vaccine for different types of providers and suppliers, and the additional resources necessary to ensure the vaccine is administered safely and appropriately. Effective March 15, 2021, the national average payment rate for physicians, hospitals, pharmacies and many other immunizers will be increased to $40 to administer each dose of any COVID-19 vaccine.  The updated payment rate for administration for each dose of any COVID-19 vaccine will be geographically adjusted and the exact rate will depend on the type of entity that furnishes the service.

The press release is attached and available here: https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/press-releases/biden-harris-administration-increases-medicare-payment-life-saving-covid-19-vaccine

Amerigroup donations benefit two West Tennessee organizations

The Rural Health Association of Tennessee in Decaturville received $20,000 for their workforce apprenticeship program, the release says. The program helps build relationships with rural healthcare facilities and educational institutions.

 Read full article: https://www.wbbjtv.com/2021/03/10/amerigroup-donations-benefit-two-west-tennessee-organizations/