January 11

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  The mission of the Office of Rural Health is to ensure access to health care services in rural Kansas by linking communities with state and federal resources and helping them support sustainable health care delivery systems.
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   Welcome to the State Office of Rural Health Update


   State Office of Rural Health Grants

   Out and About

   Partner Pieces

   Save The Date

   Items of Interest


Healthy Kansans living in safe and sustainable environments

Welcome to the State Office of Rural Health Update

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News Article November 2010 Update
Please welcome Sara Roberts, Director, Office of Rural Health

Hays Medical Center Named in Modern Healthcare´s Best Places to Work
The Best Companies Group on behalf of Modern Healthcare surveyed over two hundred organizations and companies to determine who could be listed in the nation as a Best Place to Work.  Employees were asked to complete two in-depth surveys for the award program. The designation recognizes those workplaces that support employees at an optimum level to provide their patients with the best care and services. Hays Medical Center in Hays, Kansas has made the list two years in a row.

Jodi Schmidt had this to say in response, "We´re very excited to be named a Top 100 Best Places to Work in Healthcare and to be one of 34 in the country to earn the honor again this year. Although this is only the second annual Top 100 award specific to our industry, we´ve spent more than 10 years cultivating our hospital´s positive culture, believing satisfied employees are key to physician and patient satisfaction. First we established a "big, hairy, audacious" goal:  95% of Associates say Hays Medical Center is a great place to work. Initially our employee survey scores were pretty low on this question, but a few years ago we achieved 97% and we’ve never looked back."

State office of Rural Health Grants

The Office of Rural Health oversees three federal grant programs: the State Office of Rural Health program, the Rural Hospital Flexibility Grant (FLEX) program and the Small Hospital Improvement Program (SHIP). These grant programs help support community based projects, innovative network programs, provider training and education and broad-based collaborative initiatives for health care in rural Kansas.

The Small Hospital Improvement Program (SHIP) progress reports submitted shows some interesting trends. Most of the hospitals spent their funds on (Accountable Care Organizations) computer software, hardware, education and training for electronic health record and QI/PI program.

VBP (Value-based Purchasing) software.

PPS purchases were limited and reflected the need for chargemaster update coding raining and preparation for new compliance standards.

Computer software and hardware was the category most hospitals selected for use of grant funds. More so than ever before, the money is being spent to implement electronic medical records. And some are working diligently to meet the 2013 goal. We would like to share with you some comments made regarding EMR by your colleagues.

"With health care cost and quality assurance taking central roles in our facility, we are increasing our attention on a constant basis towards health information technology."
"Complying with mandated EHRs will be a financial burden on a CAH facility."
"The SHIP funds will greatly benefit CAH's with the transition to an electronic health record and could also be used in preparing for the RAC audits that are in our near future."
"There never seems to be an end to quality improvement needs."

September 1st, 2012 was the beginning of the new SHIP grant year.

Out and About



Partner Pieces

Our featured partner in this update is Debbie Nickels, RN, BSN and Kansas TRAIN Administrator with the Bureau of Community Health Systems. Debbie first became interested in public health when she was a nursing student at Fort Hays State University and did a practicum with Shawnee County Health Agency. She is passionate about public health and very committed to its core mission of assessment, policy development and assurance. Collaboration principles are put into practice every day with local, state, and federal partners. One of the exciting things happening is that Kansas will be working towards becoming accredited through the Public Health Accreditation Board sometime in 2011.

Debbie is the driving engine for KS-TRAIN, the state's public health and safety learning management system. She enjoys improving workforce competency by providing educational opportunities. Workforce education is something increasingly important due to stricter quality and reporting standards and made more difficult by the worsening economy. A recent TRAIN data study shows average total cost savings of a minimum of $326 per participant for taking a course online versus a live course. In addition to the cost savings, employees have no travel and no lost productivity time away from work. She believes that by bringing about more training awareness and opportunities through TRAIN we can assure access to quality services in rural Kansas. As a message to remember Debbie had this to say, “Just because it hasn’t happened to you doesn’t mean it won’t, whether it is H1N1, hypertension, diabetes, flooding, or something else. It is our responsibility to not become complacent about the public's health for our families and communities.”Kansas Train Logo

Please check out KS-TRAIN for great educational opportunities!

Save The Date


Items of Interest

Grants.Gov Web Site Offers New Feature for Information on Applying for All ARRA Federal Grants
HHS Secretary unveiled a new feature on Grants.gov to help users find and apply for The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grant opportunities. Grants.gov contains information about finding and applying for all federal grant programs. The launch of this Recovery Act feature on the homepage of Grants.gov will direct users to Recovery Act opportunities, other Recovery Act resources, upcoming Webinars and links to http://www.whitehouse.gov/recovery and http://www.recovery.gov.

Stratis Health is working to advance e-health and health information technology (HIT) across the settings of care, hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and home health agencies—and throughout communities. Various federal and state mandates are requiring health care providers to have interoperable electronic health record (EHR) systems and to use e-prescribing. Stratis Health is helping providers meet these mandates and most importantly, helping providers select and use HIT to improve the quality of care delivered and increase patient safety.

Secretary Sebelius Releases $27.8 Million in Recovery Act Funds to Expand the Use of Health Information Technology
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has announced awards totaling $27.8 million to health center-controlled networks and large multi-site health centers to implement electronic health records (EHR) and other health information technology (HIT) innovations. The funds are part of the $2 billion allotted to HHS’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) to expand health care services to low-income and uninsured individuals through its health center program.


Rural Community Facilities Program Account, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) included $130 million for loans and grants for construction, enlargement or improvement of essential community facilities, including health care facilities in rural areas. Loans and grants are available for non-profit corporations in rural areas with fewer than 20,000 people. Land acquisition, professional fees and equipment purchase are included as eligible expenses.
Website: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/HCF_CF.html

The Rural Broadband Initiative
Connect Kansas was commissioned by the Kansas Department of Commerce to work with all broadband providers in the state of Kansas to create detailed maps of broadband coverage in order to accurately pinpoint remaining gaps in broadband availability in Kansas. Connect Kansas will continue to develop and update the broadband data as it is collected and the services that can be made available to public and private entities as well as citizens. Connect Kansas is a subsidiary of Connected Nation and operates as a nonprofit in the state of Kansas.

If you have questions regarding the Connect Kansas initiative, please contact us.

Kansas Rural Health Options Project (KRHOP) is a public/private partnership of not-for-profit and governmental organizations including the Kansas Department of Health and Environment Office of Local and Rural Health, the Kansas Hospital Association, the Kansas Board of Emergency Medical Services, and the Kansas Medical Society. KRHOP offers technical support, information, networking opportunities, funding and other resources to Critical Access Hospitals and other rural providers. KRHOP demonstrates the power of coordinated efforts by public and private sectors at the state, regional and local levels. http://www.krhop.net/

Kansas Hospital Association (KHA) is a voluntary non-profit organization existing to provide leadership and services to member hospitals. KHA is the lead organization in a group of companies and affiliates that provide a wide array of services to the hospitals of Kansas and the Midwest region.  http://www.kha-net.org/default.aspx

The National Rural Health Association (NRHA) is a national nonprofit membership organization with more than 18,000 members. The association’s mission is to provide leadership on rural health issues.  The NRHA membership is made up of a diverse collection of individuals and organizations, all of whom share the common bond of an interest in rural health.

The Rural Assistance Center (RAC) maintains a wiki-style website with a truly amazing abundance of linked information related to rural health topics. It is an excellent starting point for answering any rural health question and I highly recommend bookmarking it in your favorites. RAC also provides customized assistance, 8am-5pm CT, via phone or e-mail. info@raconline.org

Interested in what is happening in Kansas with ARRA?
Click on Kansas for more information about the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and how it affects Kansas.

HRSA - Health Information Technology

National Public Reporting of Healthcare Associated Infections

Health Workforce Information Center

Bridge-Abstract Picture Office of Rural Health Web Page
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