The Telemedicine & Telehealth Service Provider Directory is a service of the Arizona Telemedicine Program. The directory is a resource for hospital and healthcare administrators and other decision-makers who want to expand or improve their healthcare services to their patients, employees, clients, etc.
Jan 5, 2015 -- Describes efforts to increase Native American and Alaskan Native enrollment in the Affordable Care Act health insurance marketplace, including creating culturally appropriate brochures, using bi-lingual outreach workers, and having mobile technologies available in the field to process sign-ups instantly.
The Rural Assistance Center has published a new topic guide on Community Health Workers in Rural Settings. Resources include a Community Health Workers (CHWs) toolkit to assist in developing a CHW program, FAQs about CHWs, and links to relevant publications, organizations and funding opportunities. Access the guide here: http://bit.ly/1zOnNBO
(November 20, 2014—Parker, Arizona) Today, on National Rural Health Day, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that LaPaz Regional Hospital has received a Telemedicine Grant for $316,800 through the USDA Rural Development’s Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program.
La Paz Regional Hospital plans to use the funding to serve their main hospital in Parker, Arizona and four clinical outreach sites in Quartzsite, Salome, Bouse and Parker. The hospital is the only public access hospital in the county—a county with over 4,000 square miles…and yet only 25,000 residents. The grant funds will be used to expand videoconferencing connections to this large, sparsely populated area to provide more direct contact with physicians in the participating communities.
The project is located in the Colorado River Indian Tribe’s jurisdictional area and will benefit this underserved tribal area.
The Secretary also highlighted initiatives created by the Affordable Care Act that specifically address critical health needs in rural communities.
“Delivering these programs to rural communities that often do not have access to quality, affordable medical services has tremendous economic and social benefits,” Vilsack said. “They also mean that people who live and work in rural areas will not have to travel long distances for specialized health care services.”
In addition to today’s announcements, Secretary Vilsack encouraged rural Americans to take advantage of the Health Insurance Marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act and discussed the health care reform law’s specific benefits for rural communities.
“Rural residents have higher rates of chronic conditions. This can be exacerbated by a lack of doctors or clinics in rural communities,” Secretary Vilsack continued. “The Affordable Care Act is improving the health of rural communities and giving all families the security they deserve. No one should go without healthcare because of where they live, or be forced to leave the communities they love to get the coverage they need.”
Rural Americans suffer from higher rates of chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. The Affordable Care Act has taken steps to address the unique challenges rural communities face when it comes to getting the health care they need.
One in five uninsured Americans lives in a rural area, and yet on average only 10 percent of the nation’s physicians practice in these communities. The Affordable Care Act has significantly increased the size of the National Health Service Corps, which offers scholarships and loan repayment to health practitioners in return for practicing in rural communities and other underserved areas. More than 3,500 Corps members now serve in rural areas, and an average of 86 percent of them will remain in their communities even after completing their service.
The Affordable Care Act also invests significantly in expanding services at community health centers, where 7.5 million rural Americans get access to primary and preventive care. That comes on top of the more than $3 billion USDA has invested since 2009 to strengthen health infrastructure in rural areas, building rural hospitals and health clinics and expanding access to health care in remote rural areas through telemedicine.
Not only can a lack of health insurance coverage help lead to high rates of chronic conditions, it threatens rural families’ economic health as well. Before the Affordable Care Act passed, the average rural family paid nearly 50% of all health costs out of pocket. One in five farmers is in debt because of medical bills. Uninsured individuals living in rural areas are able to use the Marketplaces to compare qualified health plan insurance options based on price, benefits, quality, and other factors with a clear picture of premiums and cost-sharing amounts to help them choose the qualified health insurance plan that best fits their needs.
Open Enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace began Nov. 15, 2014, and runs through Feb. 15, 2015. Those who have plans can continue them without re-enrolling. However, consumers are encouraged to visit HealthCare.gov to review and compare health plan options and find out if they are eligible for financial assistance, which can help pay monthly premiums and reduce out-of-pocket costs when receiving services. In order to have coverage effective on Jan. 1, 2015, consumers must enroll or update their coverage by December 15.
Consumers can find local help at: Localhelp.healthcare.gov or call the Federally-facilitated Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596. TTY users should call 1-855-889-4325. Translation services are available. The call is free.
To preview plans in your area, visit: www.healthcare.gov/see-plans/
For more information about Health Insurance Marketplaces, visit: www.healthcare.gov/marketplace
The Univ. of AZ Center for Rural Health will join the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) and other state/national rural stakeholders in celebrating National Rural Health Day on Thursday, November 20, 2014.
NOSORH created National Rural Health Day as a way to showcase rural America; increase awareness of rural health-related issues; and promote the efforts of NOSORH, State Offices of Rural Health and others in addressing those issues. Plans call for National Rural Health Day to become an annual celebration on the third Thursday of each November.
Approximately 62 million people – nearly one in five Americans – live in rural and frontier communities throughout the United States. “These small towns, farming communities and frontier areas are wonderful places to live and work; they are places where neighbors know each other and work together,” notes NOSORH Director Teryl Eisinger. “The hospitals and providers serving these rural communities not only provide quality patient care, but they also help keep good jobs in rural America.”
These communities also face unique healthcare needs. “Today more than ever, rural communities must tackle accessibility issues, a lack of healthcare providers, the needs of an aging population suffering from a greater number of chronic conditions, and larger percentages of un- and underinsured citizens,” Eisinger says. “Meanwhile, rural hospitals are threatened with declining reimbursement rates and disproportionate funding levels that makes it challenging to serve their residents.”
State Offices of Rural Health play a key role in addressing those needs. All 50 states maintain a State Office of Rural Health, each of which shares a similar mission: to foster relationships, disseminate information and provide technical assistance that improves access to, and the quality of, health care for its rural citizens. In the past year alone, State Offices of Rural Health collectively provided technical assistance to more than 28,000 rural communities.
Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014
By CARLENE REYES
Access Across Arizona is an initiative to increase news coverage in Arizona communities often underreported by mainstream news media. Using advanced cellular broadcast technology, Cronkite News students travel to Arizona’s rural communities to produce broadcast, digital and live-television reports via Arizona PBS. This technology was made possible by a grant from the ASU Foundation and Women & Philanthropy.
Rural Health Professions Program:
• At the University of Arizona College of Medicine, of the 156 graduating participants between 2000 and 2010, 48 are practicing in rural areas of Arizona and 44 are in urban, underserved areas.
• In the 2013 calendar year, 870 health profession students from all three universities participated.
•152 medical students from Tucson and Phoenix’s UA College of Medicine campuses completed rural rotations (minimum four weeks) last year.
Source: University of Arizona
SNOWFLAKE – Dr. Darrell Brimhall knew from age 10 that he wanted to practice medicine in his hometown, but it wasn’t until high school that he realized just how important his role as a doctor would be to this small community.
WMRMC is the First Critical Access Hospital to Receive Pediatric Emergency Certification
White Mountain Regional Medical Center (WMRMC) recently became the first critical access hospital to have their emergency department certified by the Arizona Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AzAAP) as a Pediatric Prepared Emergency Care Emergency Department. The certification means WMRMC meets specific criteria and is ready to provide emergency care resources and capabilities for pediatric patients. If necessary, the hospital can stabilize a child for transfer to a facility that offers more specialized pediatric care. “White Mountain Regional Medical Center is deeply committed to providing excellent emergency care to pediatric patients in Round Valley and the communities we serve. This distinction is quite an honor and is due to the hard work and dedication of our staff,” said Gregory Was, WMRMC’s chief executive officer.
Arizona is among five states to implement a pediatric emergency care system. Certification is voluntary and is a quality improvement process that includes matching hospital capabilities and capacity to established guidelines through a self-assessment process and a site visit by a team of peer professionals. Pediatric Prepared Emergency Care is a private/public partnership among hospitals, healthcare professionals, emergency personnel and state agencies throughout Arizona, committed to an effective regionalized pediatric emergency care system. Since 2008, the Arizona Department of Health Services’ Office of Injury Prevention has spearheaded the effort to launch the pediatric emergency department certification/regionalized system. In 2010, AzAAP established the certification, and currently conducts certification reviews and offers continuing pediatric emergency education. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Little Colorado Medical Center in Winslow has been noted as one of the hospitals in the country that has improved in submitting newborn blood tests in a timely fashion for screening. The screening is a way to identify babies that might need early treatment to prevent or minimize serious issues like growth problems, brain damage and death.
An article published in The Arizona Republic earlier this week reported that LCMC has changed its practice and is sending out samples daily to the Arizona Public Health Laboratory. The hospital now averages 2.75 days to send samples to the lab.
An investigation last year by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel found hospitals across the country were sending samples past the time frame required for optimal screening, and LCMC was reported to have some of the highest percentage of delayed samples from 2008 to 2013, with a majority of the screening being submitted past the optimal limit.
The National Health Service Corps (NHSC) is pleased to announce that the 2014 NHSC Loan Repayment Program application cycle is now open. The application cycle will close on March 20, at 7:30 pm, ET.
To help ensure that the communities with the greatest need are supported, qualified applicants working in Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) with the highest scores as of January 1, 2014, will be given priority. With continued service, NHSC providers may be able to pay off all of their student loans.
Initial award amounts are as follows:
|Initial Award Amounts||2 Years Full-time||
2 Years Half-time
Loan Repayment Award (HPSA Score of 14 and above)
|Loan Repayment Award (HPSA Score of 13 and below)||
The Program is expected to be competitive. On average, it takes a few weeks to complete an application so please encourage applicants to begin the process early. It is suggested that applicants start gathering required documentation as soon as possible.
Technical assistance webcasts and conference calls have been scheduled to address questions. Encourage applicants to mark their calendars for the following webcast and conference calls.
- Webcast: Wed, January 29 at 8:00 – 9:30 p.m. ET
- Conference Call: Wed, February 5 at 8:00 – 9:30 p.m. ET
- Conference Call: Wed, February 12 at 8:00 – 9:30 p.m. ET
(http://www.douglasdispatch.com/) People’s Choice Hospital held a luncheon at Southeast Arizona Medical Center to introduce themselves to the staff and community of Douglas on December 11.
Vice President of Finance Christopher Alise began by thanking everyone for taking the time out of their busy schedules and attending the luncheon.
“We are really excited to for the opportunity to work with everyone, to rebuilding this hospital back to a position of strength in the community,” Alise said. “We understand that it is really important for each of you in terms of your livelihood, your families, obviously your healthcare and we want to work with everyone to build back up the services.”
Alise also said that he would like to be able to keep all of the expert medical care here in the community.
“So that all of you can come here for what you need were you don’t have to drive the distance to other areas to get the care we are confident we can provide for you here,” he added.
(SFgate.com) PHOENIX (AP) — Arizonans are beginning to warm to the new federal health insurance marketplace, but actual enrollment numbers for new private policies that will take effect Jan. 1 are still extremely low.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services figures made public Wednesday show just 3,600 Arizonans had chosen plans through the marketplace from Oct. 1 through Nov. 30 — less than 9 percent of those who completed applications through the federal insurance marketplace.
About 20 percent of those applications, or 16,680 individuals, qualify for free healthcare under the state's expanding Medicaid program for the poor, or for a federal health program for children. Another 16,607 will be able to buy private insurance with the help of federal tax subsidies.
The state's Medicaid plan also released numbers Wednesday for childless adults who have been qualified to receive coverage under a plan pushed through the Legislature earlier this year by Gov. Jan Brewer. The state said 13,224 adults earning less than the federal poverty limit had been enrolled for coverage starting Jan. 12.
Those people can't enroll through the federal marketplace now because of continuing problems with data transfers to states. Instead, they'll need to go to the state's website, www.healthearizonaplus.gov , to sign up.
The enrollment numbers show a huge spike from the program's first month, when just 739 Arizonans chose plans through the online marketplace.
Nationally, the new markets have picked up their pace of signups since encountering paltry enrollment, in part because of website problems. Still, the number of enrollees nationwide is less than one-third of the 1.2 million people officials originally projected would enroll nationwide by the end of November.
About 20 percent of Arizonans don't have insurance, but at least 300,000 are expected to be newly eligible for coverage through the state's Medicaid program starting Jan. 1. That leaves about 700,000 people without insurance, many of them eligible to buy it through the exchange.
They have until Dec. 23 to choose a plan that goes into effect Jan. 1, and must enroll by March 31 if they want insurance in 2014.
Although the enrollment numbers are still well below expectations, a health care expert at the University of Arizona said that's to be expected.
"We're in the early stages," said Dr. Daniel Derksen, a public health policy and management professor who helped design New Mexico's health insurance exchanges. "When Massachusetts did this as a state, they noticed a very low velocity initially. And then shortly before eligibility started that bumped up, and certainly that increased when people realized they would have to pay a penalty."
This month will be particularly important, Derksen said, and he expects a big jump in enrollments that will continue through March.
"I think people are being cautious," Derksen said. "They've looked it over. They're going to go back and look again, and then we'll start seeing these numbers really jump in Arizona in the coming months."
The number that really stuck out to Derksen from the federal figures released Wednesday was the number of individual visitors to the federal healthcare.gov website or websites runs by some states. That showed a tremendous demand for health insurance, he said.
"What struck me ... was the visitors, 39 million. Oh my goodness, there's (only) 48 million uninsured," Derksen said.