January 2017 Newsletter

Mark Your Calendar!

The 1st Annual Forum on Aging in Rural Oregon

April 20-21, 2017
Best Western Hood River Inn
Hood River, OR

This event will provide a forum where people can gather to talk about their experiences, give birth to new ideas, and communities are given the inspiration and other resources to create their own successes.

This forum is intended for community members, family caregivers, elder care professionals, primary care providers, policy makers, philanthropists and anyone interested in making it easier for seniors to age in place in rural Oregon.

Find out details here.

Telehealth Alliance of Oregon 10th Annual Summit

March 16-17, 2017
Embassy Suites by Hilton Portland Washington Square
Portland, OR

Get details here.

34th Annual Oregon Rural Health Conference

October 18-20, 2017
Sunriver Resort, Sunriver OR

Additional information can be found here.

Oregon Rural Health Conference Call for Presentations

The ORH is seeking Letters of Interest (LOI) for presentations at the 34th Annual Oregon Rural Health Conference. The Conference will be held October 18 –20, 2017 at Sunriver Resort, Sunriver, OR. LOI must be submitted by February 10, 2017.

Details and requirements for submitting an LOI are here.

Provider Incentive Programs

Oregon Medicaid Primary Care Loan Repayment Program (MPCLRP)

Applications due January 31, 2017.

Find out if you qualify and get the application here.

National Health Service Corps - Loan Repayment Program

Application due April 6, 2017.

Fiscal Year 2017 Application & Program Guidance can be found here

NURSE Corps Loan Repayment Program

Applications being accepted through February 23, 2017.

Fiscal Year 2017 Application and Program Guidance can be found here.

Oregon Rural Practitioner Tax Credit 

Are you a participant in the Oregon Rural Practitioner Tax Credit Program? If so, please note changes for the 2016 tax year. 

For eligible CRNA, DDS, DMD, DO, DPM, MD, NP, OD, and PA practitioners, the changes below to the Oregon Rural Practitioner Tax Credit began with tax year 2016.

Change #1

There are now tiers that dictate the maximum possible tax credit amount. Those tiers are as follows based upon the location of your practice site:

  • 10-20 miles from the centroid of a community with a population of 40,000 or more = $3,000
  • 20-50 miles from the centroid of a community with a population of 40,000 or more = $4,000
  • 50+ miles from the centroid of a community with a population of 40,000 or more = $5,000

     A spreadsheet and a map with all Oregon cities/towns sorted by their tiers are available.

Change #2

All eligible practitioners (previously just MDs, DOs, and PAs) must attest to being willing throughout the tax year to serve patients with Medicare or Medicaid coverage. The practitioner must accept patients insured by Medicare or Medicaid until his/her patient panel reaches a threshold of 20 percent Medicare and 15 percent Medicaid, or the same percentage as in the county population if that percentage is less. Medicare and Medicaid percentages by county are available here.

Change #3

The sunset date for the program has been extended to December 31, 2017. The program will be reviewed by the Oregon Legislature during its 2017 session. We'll keep you informed! 


Please contact Eric Jordan at (503)494-4451 or . Full program information is here.

ORH Offering Free HCAHPS Opportunities

ORH has partnered with Custom Learning Solutions to offer opportunities for CAHs and other rural hospitals to improve the patient experience. Oregon CAHs and rural hospitals are eligible to participate, for free, in the:

  • HCAHPS Breakthrough Leadership Webinar Series: A 13-month program to transform the patient experience through HCAHPS-specific leadership skills. [Available January 2017]
  • HCAHPS Breakthrough Leadership Bootcamp: The Bootcamp is being offered to an unlimited number of CAH and rural facility staff. [Available Spring 2017, Details: TBD]
In addition, ORH is giving scholarships to 11 CAH representatives to attend the 17th annual Healthcare Service Excellence Conference and the National Symposium on HCAHPS Sustainability.

If you are interested in participating in the webinar series or the boot camp, it's not too late!! Please contact the Field Services Program Manager, Stacie Rothwell at or or 971-235-3978.

2017 Qualify Focus for Critical Access Hospitals

ORH is focused on helping CAHs achieve quality reporting under the Medicare Beneficiary Quality Improvement Project (MBQIP). ORH has partnered with HealthInsight of Oregon to provide:

  • A 5-part webinar series focusing on quality reporting and MBQIP. The series is free for all CAH Quality Officers and staff. Each of the webinars in the series will be available on-demand for future playback. [Webinars begin January 31 2017]
  • A Quality Officer Round Table Series to bring CAH Quality Officers and staff from around the state together for peer-to-peer learning opportunities, discussion, and an opportunity to network with each other [Begins February 2017]
Additionally, ORH kicked off its MBQIP and HCAHPS Benchmarking Report Program in November. The program allows CAHs to select one or more CAHs that are similar in size, volume or demographics to benchmark with. The benchmarking report provides an opportunity to not only compare MBQIP and HCAHPS results, but to network and share what has and has not worked for reporting as well as quality improvement efforts and workflows. The next round of benchmarking reports will be released in January 2017.

If you have questions about the quality activities offered through ORH, please contact our Field Services Program Manager, Stacie Rothwell at or 971-235-3978.

Knight Cancer Community Partnership Program Accepting Grant Applications

The OHSU Knight Cancer Institute created the Community Partnership Program to support the development of sustainable collaborations with Oregon communities to address community-identified cancer needs. Grants fund projects anywhere along the cancer continuum from prevention through survivorship.

The OHSU Knight Cancer Institute is committed to working with communities to identify cancer-related needs of most importance to Oregonians. Working together, the result will be robust, sustainable programs that benefit the health of all Oregonians.

Community Grant Funding cycle is open. LOI due February 8, 2017. Learn more about the grant and application process here.

Small Hospital Improvement Program (SHIP)

February closes the 2017-18 Small Hospital Improvement Program (SHIP) grant application window for rural hospitals to apply for funding during the 2017-18 cycle- June 1, 2017 through May 31, 2018.

New this year, ORH will offer rural hospitals the opportunity to pool their SHIP Grant Funds to receive one day TeamSTEPPS training on site at their facility. Training is open to an unlimited number of hospital staff and will include a focus on the Fundamental TeamSTEPPS curriculum.

If you have questions about this pooling option, current or future SHIP awards, please contact the Field Services Program Coordinator Rebecca Dobert at , or (503) 494-6627.

2016 Rural and Frontier Health Facility Listening Tour

The 2016 Listening Tour Report is coming soon. Final edits are being made. The Report will be distributed to policymakers, partner organizations and advocates, beginning with Oregon's Congressional delegation during the National Rural Health Policy Institute Capitol Hill visits on Wednesday, February 8, 2017. The Report outlines ongoing challenges to providing healthcare in rural and frontier communities, as heard from 45 rural and frontier facilities statewide between August 22 and November 7, 2016. Thirty-six different partners accompanied ORH staff on the visits, at the request of the sites. The Report highlights:

  • The differences between providing healthcare in rural versus frontier Oregon;
  • Workforce challenges including: Credentialing Medical Assistants, Availability and affordability of housing, Challenges with the Nursing workforce and Health Information Technology;
  • Access challenges including: Primary Care Physicians and Physician Assistants, Specialists and Long-Term Care.
For more information, including stakeholder activities to address these challenges, visit the ORH website. To receive a hard copy of the report, please contact the Field Services Program Coordinator Rebecca Dobert at , or (503) 494-6627.

$150,000 Population Health Grant Awarded to CHI St. Anthony Hospital

With funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Rural Hospital Flexibility Grant funds, the ORH offered a grant opportunity for a Critical Access Hospital and local partners to implement an innovative population health project.

Congratulations to CHI St. Anthony Hospital! In partnership with the Yellowhawk Tribal Health Center, Umatilla County Public Health and Morrow County Public Health, the hospital is using grant funds to implement a mobile lactation service to increase breastfeeding initiation and six- month feeding rates in Umatilla and Morrow counties. The project is underway and is funded through August of 2018. If you have any questions, please contact the Director of Field Services, Meredith Guardino at or 503-494-8961.

Tillamook Regional Medical Center Receives National Recognition for Innovations in EMS

Tillamook Regional Medical Center (TRMC) recently received national recognition for demonstrating innovation in Emergency Medical Services (EMS). The National Rural Health Resource Center (The Center) recognized TRMC for their innovation in utilizing telehealth technology by paramedics to decrease hospital readmissions and improve community health in their small rural community.

Learn more about their national recognition here. You can find out more about TRMC and other telehealth projects that were supported by the ORH and the Oregon Health Authority through the federal State Innovation Model (SIM) grants here.

79th Legislative Assembly Convenes Wednesday, February 1, 2017

It's that time of year –the 2017 Oregon Legislature will convene February 1st. You can contact your legislator, search proposed legislation, see legislative schedules and follow committee hearings on the Oregon State Legislature website.

The Top Five Causes of Death Strike Rural Residents at a Higher Rate

Rural residents are more likely than metropolitan residents to die prematurely from cancer, respiratory disease, and the other most common causes of death, a Centers for Disease Control report says.

The rate of premature death from unintentional injuries was 50% higher in nonmetropolitan areas from 1999 to 2014, the report said. Premature rural deaths were also more common for all the other leading causes of death, which are chronic respiratory disease, cancer, stroke, and heart disease.

You can read more about the study at the CDC.

Do You Know Who is at Risk in Your Community?

When a disaster strikes, it can harm the health of anyone in your community. However, some people are less likely to weather the storm because they may have certain medical conditions, are not able to get the help they need, or because they rely on others for help.

The US Department of Health has helpful information that can help you plan for your community. Learn more here.