December 2018 Newsletter

Save the Date

2019 Forum on Aging in Rural Oregon

May 1-3, 2019 | Chinook Winds Casino Resort | Lincoln City

The Oregon Office of Rural Health believes that rural Oregon communities have the potential to be ideal places to age. This event provides a forum where people can talk about their experiences, learn from one another, and bring forth new ideas.

2018 Elder Service Innovation Grants

The Office of Rural Health (ORH) Elder Service Innovation (ESI) grants allow organizations to create or enhance services for elders, and to help them age in place in rural Oregon communities.  ESI projects may be entirely new or build upon existing services, but must be innovative and potentially serve as a best practice model to be shared around the state and country.  The grants are supported by the ORH Annual Forum on Aging in Rural Oregon.  The 2018 ESI grant winners are:

  • Douglas Public Health Network was awarded, $7,500 to educate senior citizens on the importance of oral health care, including: how to take care of their teeth or dentures and mouth; the need for oral cancer screening; and the connection of poor oral health to diabetes, heart disease and pneumonia.
  • Morrow County Health District - Pioneer Memorial Home Health and Hospice was awarded $7,497.75 to provide individualized medication safety sessions between an elder and a Registered Nurse (RN). Sessions serve as opportunities to provide medication review, education, and supplies needed to achieve medication safety.
  • Pacific Communities Health District Foundation was awarded $7,500 to provide high protein food boxes to in-patients identified as malnourished and food insecure upon discharge and to follow-up with weekly food boxes for 5 additional weeks post discharge.

2018 Oregon Rural Health Hero of the Year

 Sharon DeHart 2018 Oregon Rural Health Hero of the Year

Congratulations to Sharon DeHart, PA-C, the 2018 Oregon Rural Health Hero of the Year!

ORH Recognizes 2018 Top Critical Access Hospital Quality Improvement Performers

The Office of Rural Health (ORH) recognized the 2018 top performing Critical Access Hospitals and their Quality Improvement Officers for their high performance as part of the Medicare Beneficiary Quality Improvement Project, better known to many as MBQIP.

The Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) created MBQIP in 2011 to implement rural relevant quality measures specific to low volume Critical Access Hospitals.  Although MBQIP is voluntary, all 25 Critical Access Hospitals in Oregon report.  It is a proactive approach to ensure CAHs are prepared to meet future reporting requirements as well as performance-based payment models.

MBQIP Top Performers

Congratulations to the 2018 winners!

For Reporting on Emergency Department Transfer Communication Measures
Addie Demaris | Samaritan Pacific Community Hospital

For Reporting on Outpatient Measures
Jen Klausmeier & Tami Youngblood | Curry General Hospital

For HCAHPS Performance
Karyn Temte Lloyd | Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital

For Most Improved MBQIP Reporting
Tara Blohm | Lower Umpqua Hospital

Overall MBQIP Top Performer
Namrata Dave | Lake District Hospital

Oregon Celebrates National Rural Health Day with Community Stars and Senator Ron Wyden

As part of National Rural Health Day, The National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) named two Oregonians – Dr. Robert Law, Astoria, and Leonard Ellsworth, Winston – as 2018 Community Stars. Community Stars are chosen for their dedication to the health and success of their rural communities. Learn more about Dr. Law and Mr. Ellsworth and all the 2018 Community Stars here.

The ORH sponsored a National Rural Health Day tele-town hall with Sen. Ron Wyden. Senator Wyden, at his office in DC, addressed future health care providers in Klamath Falls, Coos Bay, Lebanon, La Grande and Portland. “You can’t have rural life without rural healthcare,” said Sen. Wyden. You can view the whole town hall here.

Racial Disparities in Emergency Medical Services

A new study, funded by the Office of Rural Health, finds that racial minorities receive a lower quality of medical care from Oregon emergency responders than white patients. Jamie Kennel, the study’s author, spoke with OPB’s Think Out Loud about his research and its larger implications for racial disparities in health care. You can hear the interview here.

Oregon Health Policy Board (OHPB) adopts CCO 2.0 Policy Recommendations

The Oregon Health Policy Board (OHPB) approved "CCO 2.0," kicking off the next phase of health transformation in Oregon. OHPB says the CCO 2.0 is a comprehensive set of policies that will improve the health of Oregon Health Plan (OHP) members, address health disparities, control program costs, and continue to transform health care delivery in Oregon. "We’ve taken this opportunity to really look at what’s working with CCOs and where we need to push the system to advance health transformation in Oregon," said Zeke Smith, OHPB chair. "Together, these policies have the potential to significantly change how our members experience care and how the state pays for that care." The policies were honed in public meetings and forums held across the state in more than a dozen locations, as well as through surveys and online outreach tools that gathered perspectives from a diverse cross-section of Oregonians.

OHA expects to request applications for coordinated care contracts for 2020-2025 in January, and the contracts are expected to be awarded in summer 2019. To find out more about CCO 2.0 click here.

Oregon Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) Integration and Oregon Emergency Department Information Exchange (EDIE/PreManage) Initiative Rural Subsidy Grants Available

Authorized prescribers and pharmacists can now access controlled substance prescription data from PDMP registries within their own electronic workflow.  This initiative aligns with broader state and federal efforts to increase the use of PDMPs to reduce inappropriate prescriptions, improve patient outcomes and promote more informed prescribing practices.

Funding is available for Oregon critical access Type A and Type B hospitals to integrate EDIE and/or PDMP into their EHRs. The funding was made available by the Oregon Association of Hospitals Research and Education Foundation (OREF). For more information and qualifying criteria, contact Katie Harris, OAHHS Director of Rural Health & Program Management, at .

For a comprehensive guide to the Oregon PDMP Integration, a FAQ and additional information, please visit

Rural Health Access

By Marv Nelson, Paul Stewart and Joyce Hollander-Rodriguez

As our nation continues to wrestle with how to provide high-quality, affordable health care to everyone, many Oregonians face additional obstacles when accessing care that have nothing to do with income and everything to do with their home address.

According to statistics published by the Oregon Office of Rural Health, more than one-third of Oregonians live in rural communities, many of which do not have any primary care providers. Those that do require residents to travel a greater distance to attend an appointment on average than residents living in urban spaces. Just as concerning, data shows that the availability and quality of care provided in these regions can be lower than in urban areas.

This is not to question the skill and dedication of our rural health care workers. We know that these men and women show a tireless dedication to serving their community. The challenge is largely based on infrastructure investment. It's not economically feasible to build a state-of-the-art hospital in an area that may only house a few thousand individuals. But there is good news.

Thanks to technological advancements and thoughtful partnerships between the business, health care and philanthropic sectors, it is getting easier to bring high-quality care to everyone.

For example, the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust recently announced that it made more than $14.7 million in grants in our state in 2017 alone, much of which was devoted to health-related services. This includes projects like building a new mental health facility with Lifeways, Inc. in Ontario, securing new mammography equipment for the Providence Newberg Health Foundation and renovating and expanding the Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital.

OHSU's Campus for Rural Health, the Cascades East Family Medicine Residency in Klamath Falls, and the $50 million Sky Lakes Collaborative Health Center now under construction also will enhance access for patients. Many other organizations consistently come alongside nonprofits serving our rural communities to make smaller, but equally meaningful, investments. Thousands of people who donate and volunteer play a critical role in serving these kinds of needs within our community as they collaborate alongside business, health care and nonprofit partners to bring solutions that serve the common good.

Though we may differ on how health care should be funded and what government's role should be in the process, we can all agree that no Oregonian should suffer simply because they cannot physically reach an appropriate health care facility. We should ask whether all communities in Oregon have the same opportunities to achieve health and access to necessary health care.

From educating the next generation of health care professionals to establishing traditional, brick and mortar medical offices to introducing high-tech, mobile medical facilities, these sorts of advancements are possible only with the support of philanthropic partners, including the many private foundations, corporate giving initiatives and individual donors who pour hundreds of millions of dollars into charitable activity in the Pacific Northwest every year.

In a time when our community can feel more divided than ever along political issues, social movements and economic priorities, it is important that we acknowledge the groups that are working to find common ground and help us address the issues on which we can agree.

We are calling on all of our colleagues in the Oregon business community and citizens of all backgrounds, regardless of the sector they serve, to join together and look for ways we can all contribute to address this challenge. We must ensure that quality health care can be accessed in every corner of our state.

Marv Nelson is president of Providence Newberg Health Foundation. Paul Stewart is president and chief executive of Sky Lakes Medical Center. Joyce Hollander-Rodriguez, M.D., is regional associate dean at OHSU Campus for Rural Health - Klamath Falls and residency director at OHSU Cascades East Family Medicine Center.

New Providers Serving Rural Oregon

Columbia Memorial Hospital, Astoria

  • Kansys Clouse, NP-C
  • Elizabeth Erikson, DO
  • Rachel Flescher, PA-C
  • Wendy Hovden, NP-C
  • Amber Hull, DO
  • Allison “Alli” Mattila, DNP-C
Good Shepard
  • Dr. Andrew John Haputa, General & Robotic Surgery
Wallowa Memorial Hospital, Enterprise
  • Dr. Adam Heisinger, an orthopedic surgeon, will also see patients in a partnership with Grande Ronde Hospital in neighboring La Grande.

Around the State

  • Good Shepherd Health Care System has been awarded a 2018 Top Workplaces honor by The Oregonian. The list is based solely on employee feedback.
  • Grande Ronde Hospital's Board of Trustees announced Jeremy P. Davis, MHA, has accepted the position of President and CEO for the Corporation.
  • PeaceHealth Cottage Grove was recognized by Becker's Hospital Review as one of 66 Critical Access Hospitals to Know for 2018.
  • Samaritan Health Park Street Clinic in Lebanon has become the first Samaritan Health Services adult family medicine clinic to earn a 5- star rating from the Oregon Health Authority (OHA).
  • Samaritan Health Services will open an outpatient clinic, Samaritan Treatment & Recovery Services, to treat individuals struggling with substance abuse.  Samaritan has received two large federal grants to further address substance addiction in East Linn County.
  • St. Charles Health System welcomed the new president of St. Charles Madras and St. Charles Prineville, John White.
  • St. Charles Health System has awarded "Your Life Matters" suicide prevention grants to six nonprofit organizations in Central Oregon whose programming focuses on building sustainable systems and providing support to community members who have served our country.


The Demand for Nursing Professionals in Oregon – 2018

The Oregon Center for Nursing (OCN) has released a new report: The Demand for Nursing Professionals in Oregon - 2018.  OCN conducted its research by contacting hospitals and health systems, skilled nursing facilities, home health and hospice agencies, and public health departments across Oregon to ask about current and projected hiring needs for nurses.

Find charts by specific sector and compare results across settings here.

Oral Health Toolkit for School-Based Health Centers

This toolkit, developed by the Oregon Oral Health Coalition’s K-12 Committee, provides School Based Health Centers (SBHCs) with various resources to connect clients with oral health services, integrate services into their SBHCs and other publications.

Rural Resource Guide to Help Communities Address Substance Use Disorder & Opioid Misuse

This guide is a joint effort of the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and brings together a listing of federal programs that can assist rural communities in dealing with the opioid epidemic.

NW Interpreters HUB

The Oregon Health Care Interpreters Associations (OHCIA) announces the NW Interpreters Hub.  This Hub is a centralized location that connects interpreters with health care facilities.

Research Opportunities

Provision of Mental Health Care to Oregon’s Rural Mothers: Perspectives of Primary Care Providers in Rural Oregon

Master of Social Work (MSW) thesis research project is looking for rural/frontier maternity care providers who are caring for clients/patients with mental health needs. The aim of the research is to better understand the experience of rural/frontier Oregon primary maternity care providers while caring for rural clients/patients with mental health needs.

If you provide primary maternity care to women in rural communities and would be interested in completing a short questionnaire about your experiences, please contact me: Renée Bisnaire at , for a copy of the questionnaire.

Reproductive Health

Dr. Melissa Bird presented her research on religious stigma and reproductive health at the 2018 Oregon Rural Health Conference and received rave reviews. She is hoping to expand her research to places in rural Oregon. If you would be interested in working with Dr. Bird on this topic, please let her know by emailing her at or calling her at 714-343-8601.

Provider Incentives

Oregon Partnership State Loan Repayment Program (SLRP)

SLRP, a program of the Oregon Office of Rural Health, is currently accepting applications from eligible providers working at SLRP approved practice sites. 

SLRP is an incentive program for primary care providers working at approved practice sites in Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs). SLRP is funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), and matched by an awardee's practice site. In exchange for loan repayment funds, SLRP requires a minimum initial 2-year service obligation for full time providers, and a minimum 4-year service obligation for part time providers. Providers may qualify for up to two 1-year continuations beyond their initial service obligation, contingent on the on provider's remaining eligible loan debt amount, and availability of program funds at time of the continuation application submission.  

Eligible provider types include: 

  • Allopathic or Osteopathic Physicians specializing in Family Medicine, General Pediatrics, General Internal Medicine, Gerontology, General Psychiatry or Obstetrics/Gynecology
  • Primary Care Nurse Practitioners
  • Primary Care Physician Assistants
  • Certified Nurse-Midwives
  • Dentists (DMD/DDS)
  • Expanded Practice Dental Hygienists
  • Licensed Mental Health or Behavioral Health Professionals: Clinical or Counseling Psychologists, Clinical Social Workers, Professional Counselors, Marriage and Family Therapists
  • Psychiatric Nurse Specialists
  • Registered Nurses
  • Pharmacists
  • Certified Alcohol Drug Counselor IIIs (Master Degree required)
Providers must be:
  • A US citizen at the time their SLRP application is submitted; AND
  • Contracted to begin working or already working at a SLRP approved practice site; AND
  • Providing primary care services in an outpatient ambulatory care setting.
For SLRP participation a practice site must be:
  • A Non-profit (public or private); AND
  • Located in a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA); AND
  • Providing outpatient, ambulatory, primary medical, mental and behavioral, and/or dental services; AND
  • Providing services on a free or reduced fee schedule basis to individuals at or below 200% of the federal poverty level; AND
  • Willing and able to provide 50% of their provider's total loan repayment award, plus a 10% administrative fee; AND
  • Approved by ORH to participate in the SLRP with a Site Application on file that is no more than one year old (from date the provider submits their SLRP application).
For more information visit the Oregon Office of Rural Health’s SLRP webpage, or contact the SLRP Program Coordinator at .

Rural Medical Practitioners Insurance Subsidy Program 

2019 affidavits were emailed to all program participants in early October. These affidavits for physicians and nurse practitioners are due by end of day December 31, 2018 to become eligible for all of 2019. Full program details are available here.  

Questions? Please contact us at .  

Oregon Rural Volunteer EMS Provider Tax Credit 

Tax year 2018 renewal forms were emailed to all program participants in early December. Program details, full applications for new participants, and renewal forms for all current amendable tax years are available here

Questions? Please contact Eric Jordan | |(503) 494-4451.  

Rural Practitioner Tax Credit 

Tax year 2018 renewal forms for existing program participants and full applications for new participants will be physically mailed to everyone in early January. Program details, specified by licensure types, are available here.  

Questions? Please contact Eric Jordan | |(503) 494-4451.

Mark Your Calendar

50th Annual Primary Care Review

February 11-15, 2019
The Sentinel Hotel, Portland
Get details here

3rd Annual Adult Mental Health Update: Strategies for Primary Care

March 15, 2019
Oregon Medical Association Building, Tigard, OR
Get details here

Telehealth Alliance of Oregon Annual Meeting & Summit - Advancing Virtual Care Together

April 4-5, 2019
Willamette Falls Conference Center, Oregon City, OR
Get details here

3rd Annual Forum on Aging in Rural Oregon

May 1-3, 2019
Chinook Winds Casino, Lincoln City, OR
Get details here

Conference on Opioids, Pain and Addiction Treatment

May 29-31, 2019
The Riverhouse on the Deschutes, Bend, OR
Get details here

36th Annual Oregon Rural Health Conference

October 2-4, 2019
The Riverhouse on the Deschutes, Bend, OR
Call for presentation will be sent in January 2019
Get details here