March 2018 Newsletter

Mark Your Calendar!

2018 Forum on Aging in Rural Oregon

Registration is Open!
May 16-18, 2018
Wildhorse Resort & Casino
Pendleton, OR

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.

For more information about the Forum, and to register:

Telehealth Alliance of Oregon 11th Annual Meeting and Summit

Unlocking the Power of Telehealth: I³ Integration, Implementation and Innovation

Registration is Open!
April 5th & 6th, 2018
Embassy Suites, Washington Square
Tigard, OR

35th Annual Oregon Rural Health Conference

October 3-5, 2018
The Riverhouse on the Deschutes
Bend, OR

Linda Peppler Says Good Bye

Linda Peppler

After 40 years of hard work and dedication to OHSU and to rural Oregon, Linda Peppler, Department Administrator for the ORH, will retire on April 30th.  “I have met a lot of people in this job and I will miss them, but I am excited about the next stage,” says Peppler.

  “Linda has given her all to this office,” says Scott Ekblad, Director.  “She has seen the ORH really grow and it would not have happened without her hard work and dedication.  She will be missed not just by her colleagues, but by so many people across rural Oregon.”

It is not too late to send your messages to Linda!  Contact her at until April 30th!

Oregon Health Care Provider Incentive Loan Repayment, Oregon Partnership State Loan Repayment (SLRP) and the National Health Service Corp (NHSC) Loan Repayment Programs Accepting Applications

Loan repayment programs offer tax-free loan repayment assistance to support qualified health care providers who choose to take their skills where they are most needed. There are currently two loan repayment programs in Oregon accepting applications from providers working or applying to work at qualified sites.

Oregon Partnership State Loan Repayment (SLRP)

SLRP is an incentive program for qualified primary care providers working at approved practice sites. SLRP is funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), and matched by a provider's practice site. SLRP requires a minimum initial two year service obligation for full time providers, and a minimum four year service obligation for part time providers, in exchange for educational loan repayment funds. For more information, visit the SLRP website.

Oregon Health Care Provider Loan Repayment

Health Care Provider Incentive Loan Repayment was established by the Oregon Legislature to provide loan repayment assistance to clinicians who serve Medicaid and Medicare patients in rural and urban underserved areas of Oregon. In exchange for service at a qualified practice site, participants receive funds to repay qualifying loan debt. Awards are calculated based on the balance owed on qualifying educational loans upon program entry. Applications for Health Care Provider Incentive Loan Repayment are being accepted through May 11, 2018.

There are two technical assistance webinars scheduled for the Oregon Health Care Provider Loan Repayment Program.

For Practice Sites
March 28, 2018
12.00 – 1.00 pm

For Providers
March 29, 2018
12.00 – 1.00 pm

If you would like more information on the technical assistance webinars, contact Bill Pfunder, Program Manager, Incentive Programs, .

National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program (LRP)

The National Health Service Corps (NHSC) is seeking clinicians to provide culturally competent, interdisciplinary primary health care services to underserved populations at qualified sites. The NHSC’s 2018 Application and Program Guidance has the detailed information clinicians need to apply, including eligibility requirements, site information, documentation, and service requirements.

You Can Help Shape the Future of Coordinated Care

Oregon's coordinated care organizations (CCOs) are only five years old, but a lot has been learned about what's working and what will need more work to continue transforming the state's health care system. Oregon Health Authority (OHA) would like to invite you to take a survey on CCO 2.0. This survey will be used to make decisions about how work will be implemented by CCOs in future years.

The survey is open March 15th – April 15th.

You can find more information (timelines, meeting information, background, etc.) by watching OHA’s webinar or going to their website.

Futures Without Violence in Tillamook County

Intimate partner violence (IPV) negatively impacts health and often results in the development of chronic conditions such as heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, chronic pain, substance use disorders, and depressive symptoms. Research shows that healthcare costs of treating women who experience abuse are approximately 42% higher than non-abused women.

“This is an incredible partnership between statewide Safer Futures program, the national Futures Without Violence program, and Tillamook County Women’s Resource Center. Intimate partner violence is a topic we are trying to address with positive examples of successful models in rural America,” says Jenn Lukens, RHIhub.

Read more.

Cybersecurity Guide for Rural Hospitals & Clinics

In coordination with the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP), the Technical Assistance and Services Center (TASC), a program of the National Rural Health Resource Center, is pleased to release the Cybersecurity Toolkit for Rural Hospitals and Clinics.

  Ransomware and cybercrime are growing threats to all healthcare facilities - big or small. Protecting a facility from cyber threats can be a daunting task. However, failure to do so can result in fines, litigation, media stories, mistrust and decreased market capture. The toolkit is organized into four steps to guide rural hospitals and clinics in developing and fostering a well-rounded cybersecurity program, including awareness, assessment, implementation & remediation, and education. This toolkit includes a survey of available resources from various governmental and non-profit organizations. It includes checklists and tools that are appropriate for all audiences, including hospitals and clinics in rural settings.

Recruitment and Retention: Overcoming the Rural EMS Dilemma

As the rural EMS workforce has decreased, the responsibilities and educational requirements have increased. No matter how low the call volume, ambulances still need to be fully equipped and personnel properly trained and ready to respond at a moment’s notice. Limited funding, expanding coverage areas, and a cultural shift in volunteerism across generations have motivated EMS leaders to find new recruitment methods that attract more personnel and keep them as long as possible.

To support rural Oregon’s volunteer EMS workforce, contribute today to the HERO grant program, which helps rural Oregon volunteers obtain EMS training.

Around Oregon

Grande Ronde Hospital

General surgeon Andy Pearson, DO, and retired pediatrician and current Chief Medical Informatics Officer for Grande Ronde Hospital, Mike Hetrick, MD, have been jointly named as Distinguished Physicians of the Year for 2017 by their peers at Grande Ronde Hospital.

Samaritan Health Services

Sweet Home Family Medicine welcomed Carl Hoogesteger, MD, to its team of providers.

Samaritan Lebanon Health Center

Family Medicine welcomed new physician assistant Teardaad Makarachi to its team of providers.

Southern Coos Hospital and Health Center

Welcomed Kelly Reed, MD, to the Southern Coos Health Center internal medicine physician team.

Wallowa Memorial Hospital

Emily Sheahan, MD, joined a group of 204 physicians and 43 PhD/Masters-level health clinicians who became the first medical professionals in the world to be certified as Diplomates of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM), and the International Board of Lifestyle Medicine.