Posted: Jan 19 2017

Award presented to the Holy Cross Hospital team

Presentation of the award to the Holy Cross Hospital team on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017. From left to right – Dina Rojas-Sanchez, Director of Support Services, Holy Cross Hospital; Mark Valenzuela, Board Chair, Holy Cross Hospital; Debra Knapheide, Chief Executive Officer/CNO/COO, Holy Cross Hospital;  Joyce Hospodar, Senior Advisor, Rural Programs, Center for Rural Health, The University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health; Les Caid, Fire Chief, Rio Rico Fire; Matt Eckhoff, Program Director, Rio Rico Fire Community Integrated Paramedicine Program.

Nogales, AZ – January 18, 2017 – Carondelet Holy Cross Hospital has received national recognition for demonstrating innovation in emergency medical services (EMS) that benefit patients and members of rural communities. The hospital – one of only four in the nation to be honored in this round of nominations – received the Critical Access Hospital Recognition certificate from the National Rural Health Resource Center for its work with the Community Healthcare Integrated Paramedicine Program (CHIPP).

Picture of the award certificateThe certificate was established by the Center and the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) to recognize the excellent work performed by critical access hospitals (CAHs) and other rural safety net providers throughout the country. The recognition promotes excellence and innovation and honors the achievements and results of rural safety net providers while publicizing successful strategies.

The CHIPP program, which was developed to help address the needs of individuals who frequently use the 911 system and hospital Emergency Department, is intended to ensure these indivuals are treated  in a more proactive and cost-effective manner. Holy Cross Hospital is a key stakeholder in the success of this program, acting as an advisor and promoter and as a key contact for providers in the medical community, and providing referrals to the program upon discharge from the hospital.

“Holy Cross Hospital is a proud partner in the Community Healthcare Integrated Paramedicine Program and continues to find innovative models of care to provide quality healthcare for all Santa Cruz County communities,” said Debra Knapheide, CEO/COO/CNO at Holy Cross Hospital, “We are proud to be recognized for our work in this collaborative effort to deliver healthcare that is affordable, high-quality and necessary for the good of our community. Holy Cross Hospital is committed to keeping pace with healthcare transformation, which is key to sustaining access to health services for rural communities.”
Matt Eckhoff, Director of Rio Rico Medical and Fire District’s Community Integrated Paramedicine Program, added: “Today’s healthcare system is working hard to connect the dots between all the different folks who provide healthcare. From the ambulance to the emergency room to the primary care provider, the more we all talk to each other, the better we can provide excellent care to those we serve. Carondelet Holy Cross Hospital’s engaged leadership team has been instrumental in connecting those dots to better serve the Santa Cruz County community.” 

Posted: Jan 18 2017

Three UA faculty members have been appointed to the national advisory board for the third national Telemedicine and Telehealth Service Provider Showcase, which brings together companies that provide medical specialty services through telemedicine technology with hospitals and health care providers. DrJoseph Alpert, professor of medicine in the College of Medicine – Tucson, Dr. Daniel Derksen, director of the Arizona Center for Rural Health, and Dr. Joe G.N. "Skip" Garcia, professor of medicine, will join the 25-member board, whose members are nationally recognized as thought leaders, health care innovators and champions who have made major contributions in telemedicine. The showcase will be held Oct. 2-3 in Phoenix. Click here to see the full list of board members.

Posted: Jan 17 2017


Summary: Today, leaders from nearly 60 of those campuses will attend Healthy Campus Challenge Day at the White House.

Healthy Campuses

The final open enrollment period of this Administration started on November 1, and since then, more than 11.5 million people nationwide have signed up for health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace. As part of our Administration’s ongoing efforts to reach the remaining uninsured, the White House launched the Healthy Campus Challenge in September, hoping to engage college and university campuses in enrollment efforts. Campuses opted in by agreeing to undertake a series of best practices, like emailing all students and faculty with information about open enrollment, amplifying deadlines on social media, holding enrollment events, and producing creative online content to reach community members.

White House staff members worked with administrators, students, faculty, staff, alumni, local community leaders, and elected officials across the country to spread the word about open enrollment and the Marketplace, sharing best practices with them honed over the last four years.

Alyssa Padilla, MPH, CRH Special Projects Coordinator and two undergraduate Public Health students and SHARE Leaders, Nicole Lorona and Ariel HayesMore than 350 campuses from all 50 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico participated in the Challenge and carried out some enrollment activities, with nearly 100 campuses completing all the criteria. Today, leaders from nearly 60 of those campuses will attend Healthy Campus Challenge Day at the White House. We can’t wait to congratulate them for their hard work during the ongoing open enrollment period, hear creative ideas from these schools, and brainstorm ways for them to work together moving forward. Our hope in holding the Challenge was to institutionalize these enrollment practices on campuses nationwide for future open enrollments. Healthy Campus Challenge Day will be streamed live from South Court Auditorium at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, January 13 at




Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President, the White House


Moderator: Bess Evans, Senior Associate Director and Senior Policy Advisor, White House Office of Public Engagement and Domestic Policy Council

Stephanie Blaisdell, Ph.D, Assistant Vice President, University of Memphis

Jessica Koscelnak, Director of Health Services, Keystone College

Jessica Lauritsen, Dir. of Student Life & Career Development, Hennepin Technical College

Alyssa Padilla, Special Projects Coordinator, University of Arizona

Susan Quinn, Director of Student Health Services, Santa Rosa Junior College

Jodi A. Ray, Director of the College of Public Health, University of South Florida

Brett Rowlett, Director of Governmental & Community Relations, Lane Community College


Kristie Canegallo, Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff for Implementation, the White House


Moderator: Bess Evans, Senior Associate Director and Senior Policy Advisor, White House Office of Public Engagement and Domestic Policy Council

Amaris Bradley, MPH, RD, Sr. Manager of Partnerships, Partnership for a Healthier America

Erin Hemlin, National Director of Training and Consumer Education, Young Invincibles

Kyle Lierman, Senior Associate Director and Senior Policy Advisor, White House Office of Public Engagement and Domestic Policy Council

Ebonee Rice, National Director of Strategic Partnerships, Enroll America


Bess Evans, Senior Associate Director and Senior Policy Advisor, White House Office of Public Engagement and Domestic Policy Council

The following schools will attend Healthy Campus Challenge Day:

Ashland University (Ashland, OH)

Augsburg College (Minneapolis, MN)

Bakersfield College (Bakersfield, CA)

Bethune-Cookman University (Daytona Beach, FL)

Bowie State University (Bowie, MD)

Bunker Hill Community College (Boston, MA)

California State University, Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA)

Concord University (Athens, WV)

Cottey College (Nevada, MO)

Delta College (University Center, MI)

DePaul University (Chicago, IL)

Durham Technical Community College (Durham, NC)

Florida Memorial University (Miami Gardens, FL)

George Mason University (Fairfax, VA)

Harold Washington College (Chicago, IL)

Hennepin Technical College (Brooklyn Park, MN)

Kean University (Union, NJ)

Keystone College (Factoryville, PA)

Los Angeles Pierce College (Los Angeles, CA)

Lane Community College (Eugene, OR)

Livingstone College (Salisbury, NC)

Long Beach City College (Long Beach, CA)

Mansfield University of Pennsylvania (Mansfield, PA)

Mercy College (Dobbs Ferry, NY)

Millersville University of Pennsylvania (Millersville, PA)

Missouri State University (Springfield, MO)

Monroe Community College (Rochester, NY)

Nash Community College (Rocky Mount, NC)

Norwalk Community College (Norwalk, CT)

Notre Dame De Namur University (Belmont, CA)

Orange Coast College (Costa Mesa, CA)

Pacific Lutheran University (Tacoma, WA)

Pierpont Community & Technical College (Fairmont, WV)

Princeton University (Princeton, NJ)

Rider University (Lawrence Township, NJ)

Santa Rosa Junior College (Santa Rosa, CA)

Southern California University of Health Sciences (Whittier, CA)

Spencerian College (Louisville, KY)

Sullivan University (Louisville, KY)

The University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ)

The University of New Orleans (New Orleans, LA)

The University of Southern Mississippi (Hattiesburg, MS)

Trocaire College (Buffalo, NY)

United Tribes Technical College (Bismarck, ND)

University of Delaware (Newark, DE)

University of Hawaii at Hilo (Hilo, HI)

University of Memphis (Memphis, TN)         

University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI)

University of South Florida (Tampa, FL)

University of Wisconsin - River Falls (River Falls, WI)

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (Milwaukee, WI)

Upper Iowa University (Fayette, IA)

Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond, VA)

Western Michigan University (Kalamazoo, MI)

Western Washington University (Bellingham, WA)

William Rainey Harper College (Palatine, IL)

Xavier University of Louisiana (New Orleans, LA)

Kristie Canegallo is the White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Implementation. 

Posted: Jan 10 2017

By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services | January 7, 2017 | Arizona Daily Star

PHOENIX — Saying he fears harm to Arizonans, Gov. Doug Ducey is urging Congress to not to rush repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

“I don’t want to see any Arizonan have the rug pulled out from underneath them in terms of changing this law,” the Republican governor told an audience of business executives, lobbyists and lawmakers on Friday.

See more at link below:

Posted: Dec 5 2016


The ECHO Act aims to make the University of New Mexico's groundbreaking Project ECHO telemedicine program a national model for healthcare collaboration.



By Eric Wicklund on November 29, 2016 | mHealth News 

A telemedicine program born at the University of New Mexico is set to become a national model for pushing healthcare into remote and underserved regions.

The Senate on Tuesday approved by a 97-0 vote S. 2873, the Expanding Capacity for Health Outcomes (ECHO) Act. The bill places UNM’s five-year-old groundbreaking Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) on a national stage, setting the wheels in motion for a national network of hub-and-spoke telemedicine platforms to provide education and collaboration opportunities for healthcare providers in hard-to-reach areas.

» continued at link below



Posted: Nov 30 2016

The Republican surgeon from Georgia, tapped to head the Department of Health and Human Services, espouses a more privatized approach to healthcare.

Francine Kiefer, Staff writer | NOVEMBER 29, 2016 

WASHINGTON — Donald Trump is indeed serious about repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. And to show just how serious he is, on Tuesday he chose conservative Rep. Tom Price to lead the Department of Health and Human Services. 

Rep. Price, a Republican doctor from Georgia, not only stridently opposes Obamacare. He has also put forward legislation to replace it in every Congress since the bill was passed in 2010.

President-elect Trump’s other healthcare nominee, Seema Verma, would play a particularly important role. Ms. Verma was nominated Tuesday to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a division of HHS. 

Increasing the income threshold to qualify for Medicaid has been the ACA’s main tool to get more poor people health coverage. The Supreme Court made that expansion of Medicaid optional for states, and many red states have decided against Medicaid expansion.

But some went ahead, on their own terms. Verma worked with Vice President-elect Mike Pence when he was governor of Indiana to design a Medicaid expansion in keeping with his Republican principles. To some, her appointment signaled pragmatism. “To me, the Verma announcement was reassuring. It’s not just ‘let’s throw a couple hundred thousand people off Medicaid rolls and let them fend for themselves,’ ” says Daniel Derksen, director of the Center for Rural Health at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

Dr. Derksen, who once practiced medicine as a family physician, says that Medicaid expansion has greatly helped to cover more people and directly eased the bottom line of hospitals that treat uninsured patients – “charity” cases. States have been able to somewhat customize the expansion and that has helped it gain acceptance in some Republican states such as his own. He says he appreciates the “personal responsibility” aspect of Indiana’s program, where residents have to contribute to the cost of their coverage. Those above a certain income level who fail to make their payments are dropped and not allowed back for six months.

Repeal first, then find a replacement -  Critics – and not just Democrats – point to weaknesses in the Better Way plan. Medicaid grants to the states run the risk of failing as a safety net during times of recession, for instance. States are required to balance their budgets, yet the number of poor people who would need Medicaid increases during hard times.

Also, high-risk pools were tried before the ACA fully took effect, and didn’t work particularly well, says Derksen, who is a Republican. “It’s hard to make insurance work when you’re only covering sick people,” he says. He also worries about insurers and Big Pharma having too much sway if the marketplace exchanges are eliminated. He prefers to see the exchanges modeled along the lines of Tricare, the military plan that goes out to bid among insurers.

Posted: Nov 30 2016

By Allie Bice | Cronkite News | Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016

WASHINGTON – Diabetes, hypertension and depression are the biggest problems facing Arizona counties, according to a new nationwide health index map that also scored counties on whether they tend to be more healthy or less. The report Tuesday by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association looked at every county where the insurer has clients and was issued, sponsors said, to help local governments focus health improvement efforts where they can do the most good.

…the director of the University of Arizona’s Center for Rural Health said he was not surprised by its findings on the biggest challenges facing counties in the state. Dr. Daniel Derksen said it is not unusual for the state’s rural counties to have health issues related to diabetes, noting that counties with large numbers of Latino or Native American residents “tend to have higher rates of diabetes.” He pointed to two counties in the report where diabetes is the No. 1 problem, Yuma and Navajo, that have high numbers of Latinos and Native Americans respectively.

But he also said that many counties in the state face a combination of problems that include diabetes, hypertension and hypercholesterolemia that “contribute significantly to poorer health outcomes and much higher costs of care. Focusing public and population health interventions in these higher-risk populations and areas … would improve outcomes and control cost growth” in medical spending, he said.

Posted: Nov 29 2016

Deadline: Jan. 19, 2017

To provide University of Arizona graduate health sciences/health professions students, medical interns and residents with an opportunity to gain experience in rural and urban medically underserved Arizona communities through research and/or scholarly projects;
To address community needs specific to the five Arizona AHEC regional centers through health promotion and disease prevention research and relevant projects;
To demonstrate interprofessional education or practice models.
Eligibility: University of Arizona graduate health sciences/health professions students, interns, residents, and faculty, as well as AzAHEC regional centers may apply. Projects should demonstrate interprofessional education or practice models and address community needs specific to one or more of the AzAHEC regional centers.

Funding period: One year, beginning in March 2017

Available grants: Up to five projects will be funded in amounts up to $5,000.

Please see the attached RFA for full details.

Please direct questions to:
Arizona AHEC Staff

2017 AzAHEC Research and Project Small Grant Program RFA

Posted: Nov 14 2016

By Stephanie Innes | Arizona Daily Star | November 12, 2016

Nov. 12--The election results will not change anything about open enrollment in Obamacare health insurance for 2017 coverage, local, state and federal officials say. The Affordable Care Act is still the law of the land and until it’s not, consumers are being urged to continue enrolling on the government-run marketplace as usual. Open enrollment on the marketplace, created by the 2010 Affordable Care Act, began Nov. 1 and goes through Jan. 31. The enrollment is for coverage in 2017. People who want coverage by Jan. 1 should enroll by Dec. 15. Last enrollment season, 11 million Americans got their insurance through the federal and state marketplaces.

On Wednesday, the day after the election, more than 100,000 Americans signed up for health insurance via the marketplace, which is also known as the health exchange. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services director Sylvia Burwell tweeted that it was the highest number of plan selections since this season's open enrollment began.

“Consumers want affordable coverage, and are naturally apprehensive about the unknown,” said Dr. Daniel Derksen, a professor in the public health policy and management program at University of Arizona's Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health. “Until things are sorted out by the new administration and Congress, many want to be sure they have coverage.”

“For now, the prudent path would be for consumers to understand their current options, and do what is best for their own coverage and for their families," Derksen said. “It would be very difficult, for many reasons, to leave 11 million without a viable alternative.”

Posted: Nov 4 2016

Nogales International | Nov 1, 2016

Open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) health insurance marketplace starts Tuesday, Nov. 1, and the University of Arizona Center for Rural Health Navigator Consortium says it has two “navigators” in Santa Cruz County ready to help.

“The Arizona Center for Rural Health Navigators in Santa Cruz County are trained to provide impartial and unbiased assistance to help review your health insurance options and eligibility, and enroll in coverage,” the center said in a news release. “They provide assistance in English and Spanish and their services are free of charge.”

Posted: Nov 3 2016

Sep 12, 2016 -- Exploration of the lack of access to dental healthcare in the U.S. due to both geographic and financial causes. The issue of access is notably worse in rural areas, where there are fewer dentists, dentists are less likely to accept Medicaid, residents tend to be poorer, and are less likely to have dental health insurance or fluoridated water. Focuses on dental clinics in Wisconsin which have been opened to serve the rural poor and the success they have had in securing financing to maintain their services.
Source: NPR

Posted: Oct 30 2016

By Logan Whiteside | CNNMoney Reports | CNN Money October 25, 2016 | Video 3:00 minutes

Many healthcare providers say that at the very least, Obamacare needs improving. It won’t be easy given the political gridlock in Washington. “We have to stick with it and improve what we have, rather than just throw everything out. You don’t save money by not insuring people. All you do is shift the cost of care to hospitals, nurses, and physicians that are willing to take care of people regardless of ability to pay.” Daniel Derksen, Director, University of Arizona Center for Rural Health.

Posted: Oct 28 2016

Public Radio International PRI | KCRW 89.9

Health insurance premiums under Obamacare are spiking and Donald Trump claims it's proof that the Democrats' signature healthcare reform is blowing up. Guest host Barbara Bogaev looks at how healthcare is shaping the campaign in the last two weeks before the election.

Posted: Oct 25 2016

By Francine Kiefer, Staff writer OCTOBER 25, 2016 | Christian Science Monitor

SEARCH FOR SOLUTIONS Daniel Derksen, who drafted part of Obamacare, has had a front seat to the implosion of Arizona's private insurance marketplace. But as a rural health expert, he also sees how it's helped.  

Daniel Derksen knows only too well how polarizing Obamacare can be.

In 2012, he was leading an effort to build a health insurance marketplace for New Mexico under the new law. The state’s Republican governor, Susana Martinez, and Dr. Derksen – also a Republican – were committed to standing up a robust, competitive marketplace that would be run by the state, not the federal government. 

Initially, things went pretty smoothly for this family physician and health-policy expert. Derksen, who had actually drafted part of the Affordable Care Act, had secured a first round of federal funding for the state’s marketplace exchange. He was readying his proposal for a second round of funding. 

» See full article here.