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Home > News & Events > News Archives
News Archives
Rural health care news items from previous years. Note: Because these are archived news items, external links may be obsolete.

June 2008: The North Carolina Rural Health Research Program (NC RHRP)is built on the thirty-five year history of rural health services research at the University of North Carolina's Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research. The NC RHRP is working to identify problems in the rural health arena through policy-relevant analyses, the geographic and graphical presentation of data, and the dissemination of information to organizations and individuals in the health care field who can use this information for policy or administrative purposes.
-- To learn more and download publications, Visit Web site

May 13 and 14, 2008: Bi-State 2008 Primary Care Conferencewill be held at the Lake Morey Resort in Fairlee, Vermont. This year's Primary Care Conference theme is "Integrating Behavioral Health & Primary Care - There is No Wrong Door." Programming for this year has been substantially expanded, and we have a wide array of speakers and workshops for everyone.
-- To learn more and register, Visit Web site or contact Hank Osborne at , (603) 228-2830 ext. 44.

June and October 2008: 2008 National Health Literacy Institutesis a great opportunity for health professionals to learn plain language skills to communicate health messages quickly and clearly to diverse consumer audiences. The 2008 Summer Institute will be held June 8-11. The 2008 Fall Institute (repeat) will be held October 26-29. Sponsored by the University of New England in Maine for the past 16 years, both Institutes are hosted in Freeport, Maine. Each Institute is limited to 30 participants, so register early to hold your place.
-- To learn more and register, Visit Web site

April 17, 2008: The annual Performance Improvement Summitis the RoundTable's "Rite of Spring." The 4th annual conference brought together speakers and hospital leaders on both the national and local levels, all dedicated to the idea that small rural hospitals CAN strive for, attain, and sustain measurable quality improvement.

February 19, 2008: Still Time to Add NETC Sites- Time is running out to add sites to the broadband telehealth network now being planned to tie 555 health care sites in ME, NH, and VT. Jim Rogers, President of ProInfoNet, the organization that created the New England Telehealth Consortium (NETC) told participants at the RoundTable's telehealth policy conference call on February 19, 2008 that there is still an opportunity to add sites but that time is running out quickly. NETC recently won a $24.6 million award from the FCC to build the broadband network. For more information, Call 207-947-3536, E-mail or Visit Web site

February 5, 2008, 9:30-11:00AM: USDA DLT Webinar and Teleconference- Funding is available for the educational and health care needs of rural New Hampshire and Vermont. The Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program (DLT) provides loans and grants for rural telecommunication systems that provide enhanced learning and health care opportunities for rural residents.
-- Visit Web site

January 23-24, 2008: Healthcare Summit: Operating in the Current Healthcare Environment- Back for the third year, the financial conference was jointly sponsored by the NH-VT Chapter, Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) and the New England Rural Health RoundTable. The HFMA/RoundTable 2008 financial healthcare summit "Operating in the Current Healthcare Environment," grappled with a range of funding and cost reporting issues common to all health care facilities, large and small. See the Archived Review.

January 7, 2008: High-tech network to link rural hospitals- Press conference in Bangor, ME announces $24 Million Grant to set up high-tech network to link rural hospitals. RoundTable President-Elect John Gale and Board member Charles Dwyer are quoted in this article by Dieter Bradbury, online reporter for the Maine Press Herald.

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  • NE Telehealth Consortium Wins Top FCC Funding: Two NE organizations - the NE Telehealth Consortium, headquartered in Bangor, ME and the Rural & Central Maine Broadband Initiative, Farmington, ME - will each receive funding from the FCC for construction of a broadband telehealth network, under the Rural Health Care Pilot Program (RHCPP). The Consortium is eligible to receive up to 85% of maximum support of $24+ million (largest of any of the awards) and the Broadband Initiative will receive up to 85% of maximum support of $3.6 million, both over a three-year period.
    -- Learn more (PDF/12KB)

  • NERHRT Announces New Membership Option: Starting October 2007, the RoundTable is offering Corporate Membership (PDF/23KB) that entitles every employee of a member organization to discounts at our highly successful conferences and other educational opportunities.
  • View NPR series on rural medicine
    September 4, 2007: Rural Health Series Pt I: Rural Surgery Crisis
    September 5, 2007: The Making of a Rural Doc
    September 6, 2007: Not Crazy, Just a Little Unwell

  • WICHE Mental Health Report Read the August 2007 issue of Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) Newsletter. In this issue: InFocus: Accessibility of Mental Health Services in Rural Areas.
    -- View Newsletter

  • New Study: Boosting Five Preventive Services Would Save 100,000 Lives Each Year Increasing the use of just five preventive services would save more than 100,000 lives every year in the U.S., according to a new study released Aug 7, 2007 by Partnership for Prevention. That includes 45,000 lives that would be saved each year if more adults took a daily low-dose aspirin to prevent heart disease.
    -- Learn more

  • Finerfrock Reviews RH Legislation via Conference Call On a July 19 telephone conference call, Bill Finerfrock, Executive Director of the National Association of Rural Health Clinics, gave NERHRT members a crisp overview of the current healthcare scene in Washington. Tops in everyone's mind was the reauthorization of SCHIP and as it turned out, on the very day of the call, the Senate Finance Committee approved a bi-partisan proposal to reauthorize the Children's Health Insurance Program by a 17 to 4 vote. The House will consider legislation soon.
    -- Learn more (PDF/20KB)

  • 9 NH Health-Related Nonprofits Receive More than $2 Million in Grants The Endowment for Health, New Hampshire's largest health foundation, recently awarded more than $2 million to nine organizations throughout the state to address a variety of health and health care issues.
    -- Read June 25, 2007 Press Release (PDF/34KB)

  • 10th Annual NERHRT Symposium to be held October 18 & 19, 2007 in Nashua, NH This year the NERHRT will celebrate ten years of collective accomplishments as it looks forward to renewed and future collaborations. The NERHRT is currently seeking abstracts for workshops that support this year's themes, and Symposium Sponsors.
  • Charting New Frontiers in Rural Women's Health Conference to be held August 13-15, 2007 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel, Washington, DC. Sponsored by the Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health, the purpose of the conference is to share information and best practices to increase awareness of the needs of women and families living in rural and frontier areas and gain hands-on experience with programs that work.
    -- View Flyer (PDF/30KB); Visit Web site

  • "Protecting Health in New England" was held June 7, 2007 at the Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort, Hancock, Mass. The one-day conference organized by Berkshire Health Systems, Pittsfield, MA, focused on key issues of childhood health and fitness and children's environmental health. Attendees outlined a sobering picture of increasing incidence of obesity, asthma, and autism in today's children. As NERHRT President Ed Perlak noted in his opening remarks, "the lifespan of a baby born today is now shorter than its parents and we can't start too soon" in addressing lifestyle issues. Sponsors include the NERHRT.
    -- Learn more (PDF/20KB)

  • Two NE Dental Clinics Receive Tom's of Maine Grants April 26 - Dental clinics in Rhode Island and Vermont each received $15,000 in grant support from Tom's of Maine, maker of natural personal care products, as part of the company's Dental Health for AllTM program.

    • Comprehensive Community Action, Inc., Cranston, RI, will open dental clinics in Cranston and Warwick, as part of existing community-based health centers. The Tom's of Maine grant will be used to help equip an operatory.

    • Vermont Dental Care Programs, Winooski, VT, is a 34-year-old nonprofit agency with over 12,000 active patients. The Tom's of Maine grant will be used to help a clinic relocation project. Money will be utilized for overall construction and equipment costs.

    -- View Press Release

  • VT Newspaper Predicts Physician Shortfall for NH/VT Region A three-part series in the Valley News (VT) daily paper highlights a predicted physician shortfall for the Upper Valley (NH/VT) area and outlines some scenarios for the future of health care in the region. Several NERHRT members are quoted in the series, including Board Member Gail Strohl, executive director of Little Rivers Health Care, Hunt Blair, Bi-State Primary Care Association, and Sharon Moffatt, Vermont's acting health commissioner.
    • Part 1 - March 31, 2007 Physician Shortfall Looms: Access Key To New Vt. Initiatives
    • Part 2 - April 1 Demand for Primary Care Providers Outpaces Supply
    • Part 3 - April 2 Future of Health Care

  • 2007 National Health Literacy Institutes to be held in Maine The 2007 National Health Literacy Institutes will be held in Freeport, Maine. Sponsored by the University of New England in Maine for the past 15 years, the Institute provides the premier opportunity to learn plain language skills to plan, write, and design effective, accessible information for print and web. The 2007 Summer Institute will be held June 10-13, and repeated October 28-31. Each Institute is limited to 30 participants, so register early to hold your place.
    -- Learn more

  • Gifford Medical Center Launches "Lean Healthcare" Project Gifford Medical Center, Randolph, VT, will soon begin a pilot project to apply to the delivery of healthcare the same process improvement techniques used by world class manufacturers. Through a new program called the Vermont Lean Healthcare Transformation Project, Gifford will work with the Vermont Manufacturing Extension Center (VMEC) Process Strategies Group, a not-for-profit process improvement organization hosted at Vermont Technical College, to learn and practice the "lean" methods used in industry to identify and eliminate operational waste, with the goal of improving the value and delivery of services to patients.

  • Behavioral Health Center for Kids to Open on Cape Cod A new agency to provide access to mental health care for children and teens on Cape Cod is to open in Hyannis in the spring. The Kids & Teens Behavioral Health Assessment Center of Cape Cod and the Islands will offer diagnostic and referral services for children ages 3 to 19. Margaret Meenan is director of the new center, which is the result of a collaboration among five Cape Cod non-profit organizations.

  • VT Researchers Named 2007 Rural Health Fellows Drs. Amy E. Wallace and William B. Weeks, who are associated with the White River Junction (VT) VA Medical Center and Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, NH, were recently accepted into the National Rural Health Association's Rural Health Fellows Program. Of the 15 recipients, Drs. Weeks and Wallace are the only Fellows from the New England area. This is a new program from NRHA, designed to develop leaders who can articulate a clear and compelling vision for health care in rural America. Drs. Wallace and Weeks have done extensive research in the field of rural health and have published on health disparities among the rural veteran population.

  • Massachusetts Examines Health of American Indians/Native Americans In November 2006, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health issued the first report ever on the health status of the approximately 20,000 American Indians in Massachusetts. This is also a "first in the nation" comprehensive state report on the health of this population. The authors say that there is no systematic surveillance of the health of American Indians by states or the U.S. so there is no external data with which to compare findings. The report integrates information from federal, state and tribal data collection and was prepared in collaboration with Native Americans. The findings provide a benchmark by which Massachusetts can track improvement in American Indian health.
    -- Learn more (See "American Indians/Native Americans")

  • New England States Rank High in Health Minnesota tops the list as the healthiest state but New England is not far behind in overall ratings. In the 2006 edition of America's Health RankingsTM, Vermont is ranked as the second healthiest, New Hampshire is third, Connecticut is in fifth place, Massachusetts in seventh, Maine in ninth, and Rhode Island is 13th. The United Health Foundation in collaboration with the American Public Health Association and Partners for Prevention prepares the annual report. Components which go into the rankings include Determinants, such as personal behaviors community environment, public & health policies and health services and Outcomes (infant mortality, cancer and cardiovascular deaths, poor physical and mental health days.) Vermont's snapshot shows a low rate of violent crime and motor vehicle deaths, and a low percentage of children in poverty, among other favorable measures. Note: the report does not distinguish between urban and rural populations.
    -- View full report

  • NH Wins Public Health Study Grant New Hampshire is one of ten states selected to receive funds from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to lead a national collaborative effort to explore quality improvement strategies in public health. The program, called the Multistate Learning Collaborative II, is managed by the National Network of Public Health Institutes and the Public Health Leadership Society. The NH grant, in the amount of $150,000, was awarded to the Community Health Institute (CHI) of Bow, NH. CHI will partner with the NH Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health Services; the Manchester Health Department; the City of Nashua Division of Public Health and Community Services and the Town of Derry Bureau of Public Health to carry out the project. New Hampshire will further its work in quality improvement by measuring its progress in building public health infrastructure and capacity, developing automated data collection processes for performance measures and moving towards a tiered approach to credentialing and accreditation of public health professionals and agencies. For more information contact Joan H. Ascheim, NH Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health Services at 1-800-852-3345 ext 4110 or

  • IHI Launches 5 Million Lives Campaign Building on the success of its recently completed 100,000 lives campaign, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement is now shooting for an even more ambitious target: The 5 Million Lives Campaign will ask hospitals to improve more rapidly than before the care they provide in order to protect patients from five million incidents of medical harm over a 24-month period, ending Dec. 9, 2008. IHI President and CEO Donald Berwick, MD, MPP, announced the campaign at the organization's 18th National Forum in Orlando, in December 2006. The campaign will promote the adoption of 12 improvements in care that can save lives and reduce patient injuries. Goal is to enlist 4,000 hospitals.

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  • TAP 28: The National Rural Alcohol and Drug Abuse Network Awards for Excellence 2004 Available 12/7/2006 This TAP presents seven papers submitted to the 2004 National Rural Alcohol and Drug Abuse Network (NRADAN) Awards for Excellence. Each paper describes effective and innovative models of treatment and prevention services in rural populations. This publication seeks to promote and showcase research addressing the unique and special challenges of providing treatment services to individual in rural areas and their families.
    -- Order publication
    or Visit the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information (NCADI)

  • MedPAC Releases December 2006 Report to Congress: Rural Payment Provisions in the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003.
    -- View report

  • New Immigrant Settlements in Rural America: Problems, Prospects, and Policies A new report in a series issued by the Carsey Institute examines recent immigrants in rural and small town America through analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
    -- View report

  • Operating in the Rural Health Care Environment: Financial Survival Strategies More than 100 attended this conference January 16-18, 2007 at the Radisson Hotel, Manchester, New Hampshire. Presented by: Bi-State Primary Care Association, New England Rural Health Roundtable and New Hampshire-Vermont Chapter Healthcare Financial Management Association. Providing education that you can use in daily operations and in the future!
  • Highest Attendance Ever for 2006 Annual Symposium The RoundTable's 9th Annual Symposium, "Addressing the Crisis in Rural Health Care: Creative Workforce Solutions," attracted some 170 attendees from the six states, clear evidence that workforce is a topic of highest priority for the health care professionals, legislators, health education leaders and other stakeholders who gathered at the Sheraton South Portland Hotel in Portland, Maine, Oct. 18-19.
  • Fall 2006: CAH Findings and Studies Published The Implementation of Pay-For Performance in Rural Hospitals: Lessons from the Hospital Quality Incentive Demonstration Project is a recently completed study by the Upper Midwest Rural Health Research Center. Rural Hospitals and Spanish Speaking Patients with Limited English Proficiency is a new findings brief by the South Carolina Rural Health Research Center.
  • Oral Health Report Released On October 16 the Massachusetts Oral Health Collaborative released the 2006 Massachusetts Oral Health Report, "Mapping Access to Oral Health Care in Massachusetts." The Massachusetts Oral Health Collaborative is a partnership of public and private sector organizations promoting information based solutions to oral health issues in the state.
  • Huge Turnout for Rural Oral Health Conference Oral health professionals and advocates for better access to dental care in rural areas came out in droves for the First Annual Rural Oral Health Conference in Hampton, NH on Sept. 19. A "first" for the RoundTable, the meeting brought together an impressive array of spokespersons, on both federal and state levels.
  • Use RAC's Am I Rural? service to help determine whether a specific location is considered rural based on various definitions of rural, including definitions that are used as eligibility criteria for federal programs. Definitions covered include Rural Urban Commuting Areas (RUCAs), Core Based Statistical Areas, Rural Urban Continuum Codes (RUCC), Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and Urban Influence Codes (UICs).
    -- Learn more about Am I Rural?

  • Mental Health Conference Call: Another in the series of RoundTable conference calls took place on July 12, this time focusing on rural mental health services. Some 20 interested callers participated in the call, facilitated by John Gale and David Lambert, from the Maine Rural Health Research Center at the Muskie School of Public Service.
    -- Learn more (PDF/19KB)

  • New HRSA Grant Opportunity: The new, competing FY07 HRSA Office of Rural Health Policy Outreach Grant opportunity has been posted on Applications are due on October 18, 2006 at 8pm EST, must be submitted electronically through This is for the project period from May 1, 2007-April 30, 2010.
    -- View Posting

  • 22nd Annual Berkshire Medical Conference, "Update on Infectious Disease", will be held July 13-14, 2006 at the Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort & Conference Center, Hancock, MA. Sponsored by the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Berkshire AHEC and Berkshire Medical Center.
    -- To learn more: Download Conference Brochure (PDF/163KB)
    or Visit Berkshire AHEC

  • Drug Endangered Children conference will be held June 29-30, 2006 in Portland, Maine. Sponsored by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Maine in partnership with the National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children and all six New England U.S. Attorney's Offices.
    -- Learn more (PDF/80KB)

  • HIT: A Rural Provider's Roadmap to Quality Federal Office of Rural Health Policy/HRSA national meeting focused on rural health information technology will be held September 20-22, 2006 in Kansas City, MO.
    -- Learn more (PDF/50KB)

  • Presentations Available from the 2nd Annual New England Small Rural Hospital Performance Improvement Summit, "Building on Success", held April 19, 2005 in Concord, NH.
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  • RCAP is pleased to announce the publication of its latest monograph, "The Special Sixth Issue on HIV/AIDS Education and Prevention in Rural Communities," The Health Education Monograph, Vol. 22, No. 2, 2005.
    -- View Monograph

  • Congress is Gutting Rural Health Funding -- Call Immediately to Urge a "NO" Vote on HHS Bill -- The final version of the FY06 Labor/HHS/Education Appropriations bill (HR3010) guts funding for rural health. NRHA opposes this bill and we urge you to immediately contact Congress and make it clear: A VOTE FOR THIS BILL IS A VOTE AGAINST RURAL AMERICA!
    -- View Action Alert

  • Rural Residents More Dependent on Food Stamps: An analysis by the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire.
    -- View Policy Brief

  • NRHA Rural Health Career Center: The National Rural Health Association is proud to announce the debut of a new feature-rich Rural Health Career Center. Jobs on this site will be fully searchable by location, job title or industry segment.
    -- Visit Career Center

  • SAMHSA Awards Grants to CT, MA, and VT: Three New England states are among the 16 states awarded a total of $19 million in grants over three years to provide substance abuse treatment for youth and their families from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
    -- View Awards

  • New Rural Physician Tax Credit Bill Applauded by the National Rural Health Association: The NRHA announced the endorsement and support for legislation unveiled today by Congressman Jim Gibbons (R-Nev.), offering tax credits to encourage physicians to practice in rural America.
    -- View Press Release

  • New Hampshire Moves Back Toward Community Rating for Premiums: New Hampshire's governor signed Senate Bill 125, enacted to remove provisions of earlier legislation (S.B.110) which had abandoned the concept of "Community Rating" in the regulations governing small group insurance premiums.
    -- View S. B. 125

  • AMA announces physician shortage: Today the American Medical Association (AMA) recognized that there is now a shortage of physicians, at least in some regions and specialties, and that evidence exists for additional shortages in the future.
    -- View Press Release

  • Rural Ambulance Bill Introduced in Congress -- Supports Recommendations of the Institute of Medicine: The "Rural Access to Emergency Services Act of 2005" (RAES Act) was introduced in the US Senate and US House this week. The bill contains a number of provisions to maintain and improve EMS in rural areas.
    -- View H. R. 2525

  • NRHA Launches National Quality Initiative: Today, the National Rural Health Association (NRHA) launched a five year effort, "Quality Through Collaboration: The NRHA Quality Initiative", to promote access to coordinated, high quality care in every rural community.
    -- Visit NRHA Quality Initiative

  • NRHA Awards Grants to Focus on Rural Health Care Quality: The National Rural Health Association (NRHA) today announced $76,000 in grants to be awarded to state rural health associations to focus on promoting health care quality in rural America.
    -- View Press Release

  • Tide of Child Obesity Rising in Rural U.S.: Health officials say the tide of obesity is rising faster in rural communities than anywhere else. An Associated Press article published in Newsday.
    -- View News Article

  • Impacts of the Medicare Modernization Act On Rural Health Systems and Beneficiaries: An analysis by the Rural Policy Research Institute's (RUPRI) Rural Health Panel of the MMA and accompanying regulations.
    -- View Details

  • Moving to a New "Rural" Address: Forrest Calico, who recently retired from an advisory role at HHS' Office of Rural Health Policy, will now be working part-time in the Washington office of the National Rural Health Association. Calico will head a five year initiative to disseminate some of the best practices developed from the Institute of Medicine's new report, "Quality Through Collaboration: The Future of Rural Health Care."
    -- View IOM report

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  • FCC Changes the Definition of "Rural": On December 15, 2004, the Federal Communications Commission released a final order that changed the definition of "Rural," a change that could make additional rural areas eligible to apply for and receive access to the Internet and current communications technology through universal service support.
    -- View FCC 97-157

  • Hospital Choice of Rural Medicare Beneficiaries: Rural hospitals are in a constant struggle to remain financially viable in a market environment characterized by declining patient volume and revenue. If rural hospitals cannot offer specialized services and advanced technologies, rural residents may be referred to urban hospitals.
    -- View Report

  • 15th Annual Report About Nation's Health: Once again New Hampshire and Vermont hold the number two and number three spots, respectively, as the nation's healthiest states, as revealed in the recently issued report "America's Health: State Health Rankings."
    -- View Report

  • Save the Dates!
    October 1-3, 2014
    Westford Regency Inn & Convention Center
    Westford, MA

    Summer means vacation and a more leisurely pace for most of us but not for the Round Table's new Executive Director Kim Mohan and Program Director Beth Lamarre. They are busy wrapping up details for our first-ever combined Annual Symposium, Federal Day, and Oral Health Meeting.

    October 1: Annual Symposium, "Combatting Substance Abuse in Rural New England."

    Keynote speaker, Harry Chen, MD, Vermont Director of Public Health. In a 2013 report to the Vermont Legislature on Opioid Addiction Treatment Programs, Dr. Chen noted Vermont had the second highest per capita rate of all states for admissions to treatment for prescription opiates in 2011, with only Maine being higher.

    October 2: Federal Day, Keynote Speaker, Christie Hager, JD, MPH, Regional Director, Region I, US Department of Health and Human Services. Before taking this position, she was an Adjunct Lecturer on Health Policy at the Harvard School of Public Health. From 2004-2009, she served on the staff of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, as Chief Health Counsel in the Office of the Speaker during the development, enactment and first three years of implementation of the health reform law passed in 2006.

    October 3: Oral Health Meeting, Keynote Speaker, Hugh Silk, MD, MPH, FAAFP. Dr. Silk is Clinical Associate Professor of Family Medicine & Community Health, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA. He advocates tirelessly for medical practitioners to assume greater responsibility for their patients' oral health. He is co-author of the award winning national curriculum on oral health for family medicine, entitled "Smiles for Life."

  • Board of Directors Retreat, York Beach, Maine

    Board Retreat

    Front (in red jacket), Kim Mohan, newly chosen Executive Director; rear, l to r: Alison Buckser, Susan White, John Gale, John Olson, Eric Turer, and Heather Cappabianca.
    The Board of Directors took a brief "time-out" during their rainy spring retreat at York Beach, Maine to enjoy the beach. During the two-day session, Board members worked on strategies to strengthen the RoundTable's position as a leading advocate for access to rural health care in New England.

  • Vermont's Long Awaited New Psychiatric Hospital Opening Now

    Ribbon cutting ceremony on July 1 (photo source: Governor Shumlin's Facebook page)

    July is the move-in date for the new Vermont Psychiatric Care Hospital (VPCH) in Berlin, VT, a replacement for the old, flooded-out facility in Waterbury, victim of Tropical Storm Irene.

    In the aftermath of the storm, Gov. Peter Shumlin was adamant that the old facility not be rebuilt but that a new, smaller, updated hospital be constructed. The Governor cut the ribbon on the new 25 bed state-of-the-art facility on July 1. Vermont's congressional delegation joined the governor in praising the new facility, noting that the new hospital was funded with significant federal support.

    The governor's press release said the opening of the VPCH is the capstone of a decentralized 45 bed continuum of inpatient services, with partner hospitals Rutland Regional Medical Center and Brattleboro Retreat, for all Vermonters with acute mental health treament needs.

    • Here are some details on the new hospital:
    • The lot size is approximately 5 + acres.
    • The 25-beds are broken down into one 16-bed pod in two 8-bed units and one 9-bed pod in a 5-bed and a 4-bed unit.
    • Special features include active and passive outdoor opportunities with a
    • Treatment Gateway located between the outdoor spaces.
    • The hospital includes Library, Activities, Greenhouse, and Exercise spaces.
    • The Passive Courtyard also has a Court/Chapel/Visiting Room and a Special Events Room adjacent.

    Vermont newspapers covered the opening in depth.

    Read the article in the Burlington Free Press.

    VT Digger also covered the opening. Read their story here.

  • Mid-State Health Center, Plymouth (NH) Opens New Facility in Bristol

    June 2 was opening day for Mid-State's new primary health care facility at 100 Robie Rd., Bristol.

    Mid-State's New Bristol Clinic

    In this new location, Mid-State will initially offer primary care, behavioral health, and laboratory services. Plans are to expand services over the coming months to include dental and pharmacy services as well. Sharon Beaty, Mid-State's CEO, noted that financing for this project was made possible through the support of a USDA Rural Development Community Facilities Loan.

  • New England Governors Map Strategy to Fight Opioid Drug Abuse; Gov.LePage Abstains

    Governors of five NE states met at Brandeis University on June 17 to grapple with the growing drug abuse problems in their states. Maine's Governor Paul LePage elected not to attend the meeting. Gov. Deval Patrick (MA), who convened the meeting said LePage's absence was a "scheduling problem" but LePage's press secretary said the governor felt staying in Maine to talk with veterans and release crime statistics was a higher priority than meeting with other NE governors. The other governors are calling for increases in funding for treatment; LePage favors a different approach and is seeking funds to hire more drug agents and judges to combat the crime wave arising from the drug trade.

    To read a full account of Gov. LePage's anti-drug stance, see a recent article in the Boston Globe.

    Read about the meeting here.

  • CDC Says Opioid Painkiller Prescribing Varies Widely among States; where you live makes a difference

    In the July 1 issue of Vital Signs, the CDC report, you can see a state-by-state infographic detailing opiate prescription use. Our New England states are in the "average" category (number of prescriptions per 100 persons.)

    The CDC report says, "Health issues that cause people pain don't vary much from place to place-not enough to explain why, in 2012, health care providers in the highest-prescribing state wrote almost 3 times as many opioid painkiller prescriptions per person as those in the lowest prescribing state in the US. Or why there are twice as many painkiller prescriptions per person in the US as in Canada. Data suggest that where health care providers practice influences how they prescribe. Higher prescribing of painkillers is associated with more overdose deaths. More can be done at every level to prevent over-prescribing while ensuring patients' access to safe, effective pain treatment. Changes at the state level show particular promise."

    Click on the Vital Signs report.

    Read the CDC press release.

    Southern states had the most prescriptions per person for painkillers, especially Alabama, Tennessee and West Virginia. The northeast had the most per-person prescriptions for long-acting painkillers and for high-dose painkillers, especially Maine and New Hampshire.

    Maine's problem with opioid prescribing is reported extensively in the July 3 issue of the Portland Press Herald.

  • HHS awards $83.4 million to train new primary care providers; Centers in CT, MA and ME among the recipients

    Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell on July 7 announced $83.4 million in Affordable Care Act funding to support primary care residency programs in 60 Teaching Health Centers across the nation. The funding will help train more than 550 residents during the 2014-2015 academic year, increasing the number of residents trained in the previous academic year by more than 200 and helping to increase access to health care in communities across the country. The Centers listed below were recipients of grants in previous years.
    • Connecticut Institute for Communities, Inc., Danbury, (Internal Medicine) will receive an additional $150,000, for a total of $1.8M.
    • Greater Lawrence (MA) Family Health Center will receive $900,000, making a total of $1.725M.
    • Penobscot Community Health Center, Bangor, ME will receive $600,000 for a total of $1.65M. Funding will support general dentistry.

  • More Good News : HHS Announces $100M for 150 New Health Center Sites in 2015

    On July 8, HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell announced today the availability of $100 million from the Affordable Care Act to support an estimated 150 new health center sites across the country in 2015. New health center sites will increase access to comprehensive, affordable, high quality primary health care services in the communities that need it most.

    "In communities across the country, Americans turn to their local Community Health Center for vital health care services that help them lead healthy, productive lives," said Secretary Burwell. "That's why it's so important that the Affordable Care Act is supporting the expansion of health centers."
    The investment announced today will add to the more than 550 new health center sites that have opened in the last three years as a result of the Affordable Care Act.

    "Since last fall, health centers have provided enrollment assistance to more than 4.7 million people across the country," said HRSA Administrator Mary K. Wakefield, Ph.D., R.N. "We are pleased that the Affordable Care Act is supporting the establishment of additional health center sites to provide expanded opportunities for the newly insured to receive care."

    To learn more about this funding opportunity, visit:

  • Putney VT Free Clinic Now Closed

    In 1991, Richard Fletcher started a free walk-in medical clinic in Putney, in collaboration with Putney Family Services. The intent was to keep the clinic going until the state or federal government improved access to care. It was also a time of shortage of rural health care providers.

    For almost 23 years Fletcher and a small group of volunteer doctors, nurses, and assistants took care of patients who walked into the office on Thursday afternoons. Now, with the advent of Vermont's health care system and the Affordable Care Act, there seems to be less call for the Clinic's services, so the organizers say.

    Read the full story in the Brattleboro Reformer.

  • New Hampshire's insurance market will experience increased competition and selection during 201

    Although the information is still preliminary, it appears that four new insurance carriers will be added to the existing carrier in New Hampshire's federally operated marketplace in 2015. Currently, only Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield serves the state. Assurant Health, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Maine Community Health Options, and Minuteman Health, have filed information about their rates and plans for review by the Insurance Department, said Jennifer Patterson, the insurance department's life, accident and health legal counsel, at a recent information session. The proposed marketplace carriers are also expected to collectively serve all of the state's 26 "acute care" hospitals, Insurance Commissioner Roger Sevigny said, and at least three of the carriers will likely be available at each of those institutions.

    "Five carriers is a very healthy marketplace from our perspective," said Michael Wilkey, the department's director of compliance and consumer services. "We're looking forward to having the challenges associated with people having the choice of 50-plus plans and five carriers on the exchange."

    Read an article in the Concord Monitor for details.

  • Alice Peck Day Hospital May be "In Network" in 2015

    Talks are underway with Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, New Hampshire's largest health insurer, to add Alice Peck Day Hospital, Lebanon, to the Anthem network available to residents who seek coverage in 2015 through the federally operated exchange created by the Affordable Care Act.

    Anthem has already announced plans to add two other small hospitals in the Upper Valley to its proposed exchange network for 2015: Cottage Hospital in Woodsville and Valley Regional Hospital in Claremont.

    New Hampshire regulators have until August 10 to recommend which insurance companies and plans should be offered through the federally operated health exchange.

    Read the article in the Valley News.

  • Coming in September

    Maine - 5th Annual Patient Safety Academy

    When: Friday, September 5, 2014, 9 am to 4 pm
    Where: University of Southern Maine, Portland Campus, Abromson Center
    Cost: $50, with a discounted rate of $25 for students

    The Patient Safety Academy brings together individuals engaged in healthcare quality and patient safety activities.

    To register today, click here.

  • Executive Director Julie Arel and her daughter Sophie
    presented an award to Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT).

    The RoundTable was well represented at the 25th Annual National Rural Health Association Policy Institute in Washington, DC (Feb 4-6). Board members called on their individual Congressional offices to discuss critical rural health issues and pending legislation.

    Maine's delegation called on Sen. Angus King (I-ME) Photo courtesy NRHA.


  • Rural health care news, events and notices for the current year.

    • Olson Talks about Health Care at Vermont Farm Show
      John Olson, Director, Vermont State Office of Rural Health and Primary Care, was interviewed by radio station WDEV, Waterbury, on Jan 29 during the 80th Annual Vermont Farm Show. He discussed how his office supports the health care infrastructure in Vermont, especially small hospitals, primary care clinics and health care providers in rural areas. The state also partners with the VT Farm Health Task Force, University of Vermont Agricultural Extension, Bi-State Primary Care Association and others to support the health and safety of farm owners and farm workers.

    • Mid-State Health Clinic in the News
      RoundTable President Sharon Beaty, CEO of Mid-State Health Clinic in Plymouth, NH made the news recently with an article in Healthcare Financial News. The article, which you can find here described how Sharon took advantage of the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) Program, established by Congress in 2000 to spur new or increased investments into operating businesses and real estate projects located in low-income communities. The program is not just for medical facilities but provides a source of lower cost capital to help move projects ahead in lower-income communities. By participating in the program, Mid-State was able to build a new health center and there were beneficial ripple effects throughout the community even greater than Beaty expected. Mid-State now employs 85 people; Speare Memorial, the local hospital, built a satellite facility across the street to accommodate specialty physicians and rehabilitation services, and a number of other businesses started up in the area, providing jobs to local residents. For Beaty, the most important advantage was that Plymouth residents now have better access to primary care.


  • October 2013

    Dear RoundTable members:

    Fall is off to a great start. Our 8th Annual Rural Oral Health Conference on September 10 drew 120 enthusiastic participants. We heard a rousing keynote speaker and in the break-out sessions, we learned of innovative ways in which our colleagues are tackling issues of access to oral health.

    Now it's time to make your plans for attending our annual Symposium on October 24 and 25. You may register now and review the full program here.

  • Register Now for the 16th Annual RoundTable Symposium
    and Federal Day

    Date: October 24 (Federal Day) 1-4 p.m.
    October 25, Symposium, 8:15 a.m.- 3:30 p.m.

    Place: Radisson Hotel Nashua, Nashua, NH

    Theme: Blazing New Trails: Innovative Health Care Strategies from Rural New England

    Keynote speaker: David Reynolds, DrPH, "Vermont Health Reform: Lessons Learned for Other States"

    There is still opportunity for sponsorship, to showcase the work of your business or organization. Vendors are also invited to exhibit. For more information, contact:

    Julie Arel, Executive Director

    To see register and to review the full program, please click here. Please register on or before October 18.

    Note: on October 24, from 9 a.m. to noon, there will be a free pre-conference VA workshop: "Demystifying the Enigma of Coordinating Care for Veteran Patients." Please indicate on your registration form if you would like to attend.

  • Critical Access Hospitals are at Risk! RoundTable Takes a Stand:
    Read Julie Arel's Letter to the Editor

    After reviewing the August 15 report from the Office of the Inspector General, HHS, which proposed changes that threaten the participation by many of New England's rural hospitals in the Critical Access Program, your Policy Committee drafted a response which has been sent to the leading newspapers in our area.

    "If adopted, the proposed changes could remove the majority of critical access hospitals across New England from this vital program and could potentially affect the lives of those who in these communities."
    The letter outlines the role of CAHs as safety net providers for rural communities and as hubs around which local systems of care are organized.

    Read the RoundTable's Letter to the Editor in the Concord Monitor, published on September 20.

  • 8th Annual Rural Oral Health Conference Hits a Nerve

    Conference Chair Dr. Peggy Smith chatting with keynote speaker Dr. Bob Russell

    This year's conference on September 10 in Westford, MA brought together more than 120 participants, eager to hear about the impact on rural oral health in today's changing health care climate. As Dr. Bob Russell implied in his challenging keynote speech, we can't continue to go along as we've always done. "Dental must become part of the national health transformation and action plan....and must be included in ALL aspects of the Affordable Care Act." Dr. Russell heads the highly successful Iowa I-Smile program.

    Dr. Russell outlined many obstacles now in the way of achieving oral health access--all well known to the audience. But despite roadblocks such as resistance to new workforce models, loopholes in the ACA that leave gaps in dental coverage, decrease in states and federal public program spending, and a host of other challenges, he remains optimistic that we are moving in the right direction. Regardless of what happens with the ACA, there is forward momentum.

    What needs to happen? He says, "Changes within licensure, flexible deployment, greater use of all available workforce, and a payment systems that recognizes the entire oral health team including primary care and non-traditional providers must become part of the mix to improve rural oral health access."

    Laurie Norris, JD, now a Senior Policy Advisor for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, reviewed ways in which CMS and the states are now moving forward together. She is known widely for her efforts in calling national attention to the link between untreated dental caries and serious illness and death. Responding to Dr. Norris, a panel of oral health directors from the New England states described what is happening in their states.


    As in years past, a large contingent of dental hygiene students from Boston University Goldman School of Dental Medicine, Mt. Ida College, and Tunxis Community College (CT) attended the conference along with faculty members.

    Afternoon sessions focused on a range of topics: recruitment of oral health professionals, successful school oral health programs, water fluoridation campaigns, and the "culture of poverty," among others. Read the speakers' presentations here.

  • University of New England Dental School Opens with 64 Students

    UNE Dental School
    The School, located in Portland, ME, welcomed its inaugural class on August 28, 2013. Classes are being held in the new Oral Health Center on Stevens Avenue; a formal dedication will take place on Oct 2,2013. The class includes 24 students from Maine, five from New Hampshire, and four from Vermont, with the other students representing 16 states and Canada.

    College of Dental Medicine Dean James Koelbl said the focus on the fourth year will be on"extensive clinical experience in a distributed, community-based clinical learning environment across northern New England."

    Once the College is fully operational, faculty and students will provide approximately 12,000-15,000 patient visits per year in the Oral Health Center, with an additional 20,000-25,000 visits per year provided in the community-based network.

  • New Hampshire Wins Oral Health Grant from CDC

    In more good news on the oral health front, New Hampshire was one of 21 recipients awarded a "State Oral Disease Prevention Program" grant from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

    Aim of the grant program is to assist state health departments with improving the oral health of their residents, in particular those children and adults who are most at risk for oral health diseases.

    In announcing the grant, Dr. Jose Montero, Director of Public Health at the NH Department of Health and Human Services, had this to say:

    "The health field has learned much more recently about the connection between oral health and overall health.This grant will allow us to build infrastructure and capacity to assess the places in the State where the dental workforce is insufficient, to monitor and evaluate fluoridation efforts, and to develop a plan that addresses barriers to achieving good oral health for all New Hampshire residents."

    New Hampshire is receiving $230,000 in the first year of the grant. The grants are renewable for up to five years.

  • RoundTable member Nancy Martin is DHHS Oral Health Program Manager.

    $300,000 Grant for Mental Health, other Health Care Services for Maine's Rural Veterans
    Matthew Chandler, RoundTable Board member, and Director, Rural Health and Primary Care, Maine CDC, Maine DHHS, received the good news on September 12:

    Maine has been awarded a $300,000 grant to improve the quality of mental health and other critical healthcare services for veterans living in rural areas. Montana and Alaska are also receiving the same award, designed to enhance crisis intervention services through telehealth technologies. These services will enable health providers to coordinate care wirelessly and electronically across long distances to detect and treat post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD), traumatic brain injury, and other injuries for rural veterans.

    The grants, funded by HHS' Health Resources and Services Administration, are part of an ongoing collaboration between HHS and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to implement a 21st century information infrastructure for rural health. The programs are designed to build on existing networks of care among health care entities such as critical access hospitals, home health agencies, community mental health clinics and other providers of mental health services.

    The Maine Department of Health and Human Services has three basic objectives for the funding:

    1. Use the statewide health information exchange (HIE) to improve care coordination for veterans seen by both the VA and private providers;
    2. Provide coordinated and collaborative support to VA providers for implementing HIE connection, and;
    3. Make statewide HIE records available to veterans who are accessing their medical records information.
    In the next issue of the newsletter we will have more detail on how Matt Chandler and his team plan to move forward with this key initiative that offers so much promise to rural veterans and their health care providers.

  • Medical Students Wary of Careers in Primary Care

    Aerial view of the Biddeford Campus
    Students at the The University of New England School of Osteopathic Medicine UNECOM) say they would love to do primary care in a rural area - but debt is weighing them down.

    Read the story in the Concord Monitor. A reporter interviewed seven UNECOM students who are spending their third year of medical school at Lakes Region General Hospital, Laconia, NH., to hear their thoughts on a career in primary care. Several said they were attracted but the specter of huge loans upon graduation may influence their choice of practice areas.

    The University offers these statistics about its College of Osteopathic Medicine (UNECOM) graduates:
    • More than 60% of its graduates practice in primary care disciplines.
    • In Maine, 10% of practicing physicians are UNECOM graduates;
    • 25% of UNECOM graduates practicing in Maine serve in rural areas.
    • In New England, 17% of UNECOMN graduates are practicing in medically underserved areas.

  • Carsey Institute Finds NH Child Poverty Increased in 2011-2012

    New Hampshire experienced the largest increase in child poverty of any state in the country from 2011 to 2012, according to a new study from the Carsey Institute. From being one of the country's best states, NH has slumped.

    After having the lowest child poverty in the nation for more than a decade, New Hampshire no longer holds this distinction, with a 2012 child poverty rate of 15.6 percent, an increase of 3.6 percentage points from 2011 when the child poverty rate was 12 percent. This represents a more than 30 percent increase in just one year and more than a 75 percent increase between 2007 and 2012.

    "These new estimates suggest that child poverty plateaued in the aftermath of the Great Recession but has not yet begun to fall as we enter the fourth year of 'recovery.' While modest improvements are evident in some places, increases in others raise concerns about the well-being of America's children," the Carsey researchers said.

    Read the Report here.

  • NOSORH Offers Rural-Focused Grant Writing Workshop, Starting Oct. 3

    October 1 is the registration deadline for the 3rd Grant Writing Institute sponsored by the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH), designed to grow leaders with a specialty in rural health grant writing. NOSORH says, "It's not just Grant Writing 101 - it's Grant Writing for rural people and places. It's a class for beginners, it's all taught virtually, and at the end of the course those who complete their grant portfolio assignments earn a certificate of completion for Rural Health Grant Writing Specialist."

    Kassie Clarke, of Grant Expectations and formerly in the Oregon Office of Rural Health is the lead faculty for the nine-session Institute.

    For full details and online registration, click here.

  • Nevada Health Plan for Uninsured - Can we learn from other states?

    Kaiser Health News reported recently on an unusual Nevada nonprofit that helps connect 12,000 uninsured residents to doctors and hospitals who are willing to accept a lower-cost, negotiated fee for their services. The Access to Healthcare Network is a medical discount plan that helps uninsured residents with low and moderate incomes get care from 2,000 providers around the state offering a wide variety of medical services. In addition to the provider charges, members also pay $35 a month to support Access to Healthcare's coordinators who help them understand their options and what they are responsible for.

    One in five people in Nevada is uninsured, Kaiser says.

    Read more about the Nevada plan.

  • When it comes to Health Care, there are Two Americas

    This graphic from The Commonwealth Fund shows that we live in one of the highest performing areas on the country, in regard to overall health care system performance.

    Where you live DOES make a difference, writes Dr. David Blumenthal in his Commonwealth Fund Blog post on the Two Americas.

    16th Annual Symposium Keynote Speakers
    Offer Encouraging Messages on ACA

    View the Speakers Presentations

    David Reynolds, DrPh, held his audience captive with his engaging—and optimistic—take on health care reform. As one of the architects of Vermont’s single-payer health care system, Dr. Reynolds has been a major player for more than 35 years in the quest for better access and lower cost health care systems. He titled his talk “Vermont Health Reform: Lessons Learned for Other States“ but, as he wryly noted, it probably should be “lessons we are still learning.” He stressed that coverage alone does not equal access to health care. A surprise note: Dr. Reynolds is semi-retiring and will be leaving state government on Nov. 15; however,he has every intention of continuing to advocate for health care as a “public good, publically financed.”

    For Federal Day, preceding the Symposium, keynote speaker Raymond “Ray” Hurd, Regional Administrator for the Boston and New York Regional Offices (Regions I & II) reviewed the health insurance marketplace in New England. Hurd noted the positive direction in recent years for the Region 1 agencies to work more cooperatively and to share information. Fortunately, the Federal government “reopened” in time for the contingent of federal speakers to be present at the conference!

    • Hurd was joined by a federal panel presenting examples of collaboration: Kathryn Power, Regional Administrator, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) forcefully noted that “behavioral health services have to be at the table” in health care reform.

    • Dr. Eric Shirley, VISN 1 (Veterans Integrated Service Network), spoke on the collaboration of the VA with ACA. There are 250,000 patients in the six NE states and 46 Community-Based Outpatient Clinics. “When you enroll in the VA, that makes you enrolled in ACA.”

    • For our region’s elderly rural patients, Jennifer Throwe, Administration on Aging, offered ways in which her agency is helping with transportation, nutrition, prevention of elder abuse, and supporting new models of community care, a timely message given the demographic makeup of our NE states with their aging populations.

    • Awards are always a highlight of the Symposium. This year three individuals were honored:
      • Carol Causton, RN, Open Door Free Clinic, Middlebury, VT, received the Volunteer Award for her outreach to Addison County’s migrant agricultural workers. The Outreach Program provides health, vision, and dental screenings, and vaccination clinics for this under-served population. As a Spanish-speaking nurse Carol has been at the heart of these initiatives since the program's inception in 2009. She helped provide over 200 vaccines to farm workers in 2012 alone. She is also president of the Open Door Clinic’s Board of Directors.

      • Steven W. Powell, MD, MPH, Chief Medical Officer, New London Hospital, New London, NH, received The Rural Health Clinician Award. He was nominated by his colleague Dr. Adnan Khan, who wrote: “Dr. Powell is unique in that he spans six disciplines by himself (Internal Medicine, Emergency Medicine, Preventive Medicine, Psychiatry, EMS, and Administration), all of which result in a unique, once in a lifetime individual, who provides incredible benefit to the rural healthcare environment.”

      • Dr. Jeffrey Dodge, DMD, won the Leadership Award for his role in meeting the oral health needs of Rhode Islanders. Dr. Dodge has been at the forefront of providing care to rural Rhode Islanders through his activities as chair of the Department of Health Oral Health Committee and co-chair of the Mission of Mercy project, a two-day event that helps bring free dental care to some of the thousands of Rhode Islanders who have no dental insurance or cannot afford dental services. A past president of the Rhode Island Dental Association, Dr. Dodge’s efforts ensured that the critical issue of access to oral health care was brought front and center to the public and policy makers.

  • 8th Annual New England Rural Oral Health Conference Hits a Nerve

    This year’s conference on September 10 in Westford, MA brought together more than 120 participants, eager to hear about the impact on rural oral health in today’s changing health care climate. As Dr. Bob Russell said in his challenging keynote speech, we can’t continue to go along as we’ve always done. “Dental must become part of the national health transformation and action plan….and must be included in ALL aspects of the Affordable Care Act.” Dr. Russell heads the highly successful Iowa I-Smile program.

    Read more of Dr. Russell’s challenge and see all conference presentations.

  • Critical Access Hospitals are at Risk! RoundTableTakes a Stand:
    Read Julie Arel's Letter to the Editor

    After reviewing the August 15 report from the Office of the Inspector General, HHS, which proposed changes that threaten the participation by many of New England's rural hospitals in the Critical Access Program, your Policy Committee drafted a response which has been sent to the leading newspapers in our area. The letter outlines the role of CAHs as safety net providers for rural communities and as hubs around which local systems of care are organized.

    Read Julie Arel’s Letter to the Editor.

  • Julie Arel Named Executive Director
    Julie Arel, Starksboro, VT, is the RoundTable's new Executive Director. Arel was the unanimous choice of the search committee, which noted her outstanding skills in each of the functional areas of the position. Board President Nancy DuMont commented, "Julie's strengths in grant writing, board management and big picture thinking, in particular, will stand her in good stead as our new Executive Director." Read More...


  • RoundTable 2011 Annual Report Now Available!
    Learn more about the events and accomoplishments of the New England Rural Health Round Table! You can now read and download the 2011 report.

  • Congratulations to Alisa Druzba, New Hampshire Rural Health & Primary Care Administrator, and Clay Odell, Bureau Chief of the New Hampshire Bureau of Emergency Medical Services, who were awarded first place for two storyboard presentations at the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) Annual Meeting and National Association of State Emergency Medical Officials (NASEMSO) Learning Session in Denver, in September.  To view the presentations - one on EMS Management Leadership training and one on EMS CPAP Equipment Grant - see the New Hampshire Home Page.

  • In Honor of National Rural Health Day - Nov 17
  • Paige St. Cyr, our VISTA volunteer assigned to the North Country Health Consortium in Littleton, NH, has created a wonderful video celebrating the power of rural.

    View Paige's Video!

    To Learn more about National Rural Health Day,
    click one of the links below!

    Visit the site at to find
    National Rural Health Day resources.

    Visit our Massachusetts page to find information and resources
    for celebrating National Rural Health Day in Massachusetts!

    To see what's happening in Rhode Island to celebrate
    National Rural Health Day, visit the RI State Page!

    Connecticut will observe the day on Tuesday, Nov. 15.
    Visit our CT State Page for details.

    Vermont Will Honor Rural Health Providers.
    Visit the VT State Page to learn more.

    See the Maine State Page to read the Press Release
    from Maine's Governor Paul LePage.

    New Hampshire will celebrate Rural Health Day on Thursday, Nov. 17.
    Visit the NH State Page for details!

  • RoundTable Urges Supercommittee to: "do no harm to the rural healthcare safety net."

    Click here to read or download the letter sent on Nov 16 and signed by RoundTable President Nancy DuMont and Executive Director Marion Pawlek to members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction.


  • December, 2010 -3RNet Members, Colleagues Meet to Promote Rural Recruitment

    In a meeting sponsored by the MA State Office of Rural Health, in collaboration with the RoundTable and 3RNet (The National Rural Recruitment and Retention Network), participants explored recruiting opportunities in depth and shared much information

    Attendees included the State Office of Rural Health directors from CT, MA, ME, NH, and VT (RI was unable to attend), along with representatives from the Maine Primary Care Association, Bi-State Primary Care Association, MA Primary Care Office/Mass AHEC Network, the US Public Health Service Bureau of Clinician Recruitment and Service, and the Executive Director of the RoundTable.

    Massachusetts SORH Director Cathleen McElligott hosted the meeting at the Wachusett Village Inn, Westminster, MA on Dec. 2, to give participants a chance to dig into the thorny issues of health provider recruitment in our rural areas. It was a hands-on meeting that allowed plenty of give and take among the 3RNet leaders (Tim Skinner, Nikki Kennedy, and Jerry Kafer) and those around the conference table. Attendees said they came to learn how best to use 3RNet resources and to share information about recruitment practices that are clearly working.

    Some of the participants brought illustrations of strategies they have used to attract candidates. Jim Dowling, Maine PCA, sends out a DVD with postcards featuring the attractions of his state.

    Many attendees suggested ideas for continued - and stronger - collaboration with the RoundTable, such as joint participation in recruiting conferences. This was a very upbeat gathering that produced many positive ideas for dealing with critical workforce issues.

  • December, 2010 - New - from the Maine Rural Health Research Center

    Access to Mental Health Services and Family Impact of
    Rural Children with Mental Health Problems,
    Working paper #45, October 2010

    "The majority of children with mental health problems go untreated, and the gap between need and service use is assumed to be wider in rural than in urban areas. It is also assumed that rural families of children with mental health problems experience a greater financial and emotional impact than urban families. These assumptions reflect the lower availability of mental health specialty care and support services in rural areas." Read the full report.


  • January, 2010 - NH Contract to Expand/Improve Health Care Services for Rural Communities With the recent awarding of a contract to "bundle" three key grant programs - the FLEX, SHIP, and SORH grants - the NH Department of Health and Human Services, Rural Health and Primary Care Section, is looking forward "not just to provision of services but enhancement of services."

    Performance Management Institute, LLC, Portland, ME. was the successful winner in an open and highly competitive bidding process to provide services to the Federal Rural Health Capacity Services (FRHCS) Program, according to Alisa Butler-Druzba, Administrator, Rural Health & Primary Care Section, New Hampshire DHHS- Division of Public Health Services.

    Now rolled into one contract are the FLEX (Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program,) the SHIP (Small Rural Hospital Improvement Program), and the SORH (State Office of Rural Health grant) programs. The two-year contract runs though August 31, 2011 with potential for renewal for up to two additional years. Funds for the contract total $393,000 per year over the two year time period. The Rural Health and Primary Care Section (RHPC) includes the State Office of Rural Health (SORH), the Primary Care Office, the Oral Health Program and Workforce Development. SORH administers the FLEX, SHIP, and SORH grants, all of which are concerned with sustaining the rural healthcare safety net.

    Gregory Wolf, Chief Technical Officer and Senior Consultant, Performance Management Institute PMI), has put together a national team to work with NH in quality improvement and expansion of services. In addition to the PMI staff, Wolf has recruited experts from across the country to address some components of the contract. And he is currently visiting a group of the CAHs, to schedule the first set of services.

    The five Core Contract services that focus on building capacity are:
    • Support the 13 Existing Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs)

    • Implement performance improvement programs, including clinical quality and patient safety

    • Improvement and integration of EMS services

    • Update the State Rural Health Plan

    There are detailed requirements under each of the five Core Contract services. Some of these include:

    • Technical assistance to CAHs for improving strategic planning and performance

    • Work with the CAHs to design and implement quality improvement processes; support patient safety initiatives

    • Foster and promote rural EMS healthcare workforce development, recruitment and retention and support of an EMS education website

    • Support of the New England Performance Improvement (NEPI) program facilitated by the New England Rural Health RoundTable; develop an Institute for Health Improvement (IHI) New England Rural Node and purchase Boards-on-Board tool kits for the CAH boards to enable them to take a more active role in the quality and patient safety culture of their hospitals

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  • NH Survey of Third-Graders Shows Improvement in Oral Health
    Here is good news from Nancy Martin, Oral Health Program Manager, NH Department of Health and Human Services:
    New Hampshire has just released the results of its 2009 Third-Grade Healthy Smiles-Healthy Growth Oral Health-BMI (Body Mass Index) survey. More than 3,000 students were reached state-wide, in 81 schools. The survey data represent the first state and regional obesity data and the first oral health data. When compared to 2001statewide data from the first oral health survey, the 2009 results indicate that the oral health of NH's children has improved. Read the full report.

    And More Good News on Oral Health: NH Legislature Approves Sealants Rule
    Susanne Kuehl, President, New Hampshire Dental Hygienists' Association (NHDHA), reports that the Joint Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules (JLCA) has approved a rule that will allow dental hygienists under public health supervision to apply sealants without a prior examination by a dentist. The Board of Dental Examiners approved the rule in September; the last step before the sealants rule takes effect is for the Board to file the final rule with the Office of Legislative Services and this action is expected soon.

    Kuehl says the sealants rule is a huge step forward for preventive dental healthcare. NH hygienists will soon be able to provide services to more children who now needlessly suffer from tooth decay, she says. According to the Centers for Disease Control, "...only about one-third of children aged 6-19 years have sealants. And, although children from lower income families are almost twice as likely to have decay as those from higher income families, they are only half as likely to have sealants."

  • November 2009 - New Report from MA Office of Oral Health
    The Status of Oral Disease in Massachusetts 2009: The Great Unmet Need summarizes the most up to date information on the burden of oral disease in Massachusetts. Although the state has made great strides in improving and promoting oral health since 2000, the report shows there is more work to be done, especially among the most vulnerable residents.

  • September 10, 2009 - RoundTable Group to Congress: Remember Rural!

    As Congress tackles healthcare reform, the New England Rural Health RoundTable (NERHRT) urges legislators to act, but also to keep the unique nature of rural areas in mind. Marion Pawlek, NERHRT’s Executive Director says, “Our organization supports the President’s goals for reform of the healthcare system but we caution Congress that New England’s rural communities have special concerns.” Pawlek highlights these:

    • Rural areas have higher rates of uninsurance and poverty
    • Rural areas rely more heavily on subsidized public programs such as Medicaid and SCHIP (State Children’s Health Insurance Programs)
    • Many rural areas have an older population with higher healthcare needs
    • Rural areas may have a limited number of both insurers and providers

    Key points of NERHRT’s “message to Congress” on healthcare legislation:
    • Expand insurance options so that individuals and small employers in rural areas can get coverage at reasonable cost
    • Assure that insurers participating in ‘Exchange’ programs be compelled to contract with the limited pool of providers in rural communities
    • Avoid provisions such as high ‘age rating’ ratios that would impact the sub-Medicare elderly in rural areas
    • Include provisions to support the rural provider workforce (insurance is only part of the problem of access to care in rural areas)

    Read the detailed statement here.

  • October 30, 2009, Round Table's 12th Annual Symposium
    “Take Two Aspirin and Call Me… in 100 Days: Rural Workforce Challenges”

    The RoundTable’s12th Annual Symposium on Oct. 30 brought members together in Portland, Maine to grapple with the issue that’s at the top of everyone’s worry list: workforce!

    See the speakers presentations, and read more about why attendees agreed:

    "Let's do this again!"

  • October 23, 2009, 4th Annual Rural Oral Health Conference Draws Record Crowd! There wasn’t an empty seat in the NE Convention Center on September 11 for the RoundTable’s 4th annual rural oral health conference. Once again this conference brought together leaders of the dental profession, practitioners, and passionate advocates for better access to oral health care in rural areas. Dr. Edwin Smith, the Kentucky dentist who has won national acclaim for going “on the road” in a mobile van to bring dental care to underserved people in his state, drew a standing ovation from the audience. Read more about the conference.

  • October 23, 2009, NECON Regional Conference 2009 - Shaping the Prevention Movement in New England
    Help build the prevention movement in New England at The New England Coalition for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (NECON) annual conference. Learn from top players in the field, collaborate with your colleagues, and expand your professional network. The conference will be focused on the three main areas of social strategy, political will, and current research.

    Guest speakers include Dr. J. Michael McGinnis, senior scholar at The Institute of Medicine, E.J. Dionne, Jr. columnist at The Washington Post,, and Dr. Michael Jacobson, Executive Director at the Center for Science in the Public Interest. NECON is a not-for-profit, non-partisan organization that serves as a vehicle for the development and enhancement of disease prevention and health promotion public policies and practices in New England.

  • October 14, 15 & 16, 2009: "From Disparities to Equity: The Power to Make Change"
    Location: The Westin Hotel, Providence, RI
    Hosted by: The Rhode Island Department of Health
    Overview: This year's event will provide an opportunity to share proven regional and national strategies to effectively eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities. Racism, oppression and discrimination play a role in the health and well-being of our citizens. More than 50 presentations over this 3-day event will highlight what works and how we build and enhance new partnerships to effect policy change that has a profound impact on health for some of our most vulnerable populations. Cultural art performances will be featured throughout the conference. It is an event you don't want to miss.
    Contact: For more information, contact Michelle Surduval, Conference Coordinator at: , 207-839-6381 or visit:

  • June 15, 2009: RoundTable Goes to Washington
    RoundTable spokespersons Pat Bechenhaupt, John Gale, Martha McLeod, Ronnie Rom, Dr. Joseph Stenger, Eric Turer and Executive Director Marion Pawlek made a trip to Capitol Hill to talk with Congressional staffers about rural health care issues of special interest to New England. The meeting was attended by representatives from nine (NE) Senate and House offices and in the words of Director Pawlek, "I think we created a very credible perception of our organization. The communication links will be valuable to us as current and future legislation passes through the congressional offices."

  • May 14, 2009, 1:00-2:00PM: Free Prescription Savings Program Webinar
    Hosted by New England Rural Health RoundTable. Overview: The RoundTable invites you to participate in an informative webinar about ways in which you can help uninsured New England residents gain better access to prescription medicines through the Together Rx Access Program, a free prescription savings program. Participants: Marion Pawlek, Executive Director, NERHRT and Amy Niles, Chair Medical Relations/Advocacy of Together Rx Access.

  • April 15-17 & April 27-29, 2009:Grant Writing 201
    Locations: April 15-17, 2009, Hyannis, MA & April 27-29, 2009, Northampton, MA. TrainerJack Smith received rave reviews at the 2008 NERHRT Rural Finance Conference! Co-sponsored by: The New England Rural Health RoundTable and the Massachusetts State Office of Rural Health

  • April 2009: This year's New England Small Rural Hospital Performance Improvement Summit was jam-packed with "take-aways" for small rural hospital CEOs and quality improvement staff.

  • March 13 & 14, 2009:2009 New Horizons in Human Health Symposium Bringing Leading Edge Medicine to Rural Communities. Location: Maple Hill Farm BB & Conference Center, Hallowell, ME Presented by: Togus Veterans' Affairs Medical Center and the Maine Institute for Human Genetics & Health.
    -- View Brochure (PDF/698KB)

  • March 2009: New Policy Report of Interest "Rural Health Care: Innovations in Policy and Practice" is a new policy brief released March, 2009 by Grantmakers in Health.

  • February 2009:The RoundTable launches new Online Newsletter! We want to bring rural health news to you in the way YOU want to receive it -- electronically. Our print newsletter has been retired and you can look forward to receiving relevant, exciting news of interest to you and your colleagues in the most timely manner possible. We'll send regular news clips with links to the full story, located on our web site.
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  • September 2008: Rural Workforce The new joint regional project between the New England State Offices of Rural Health and New England Rural Health RoundTable entitled "New England Regional Healthcare Workforce Collaboration."

  • July 7, 2008: What's next for the NBRC? Matt Robeson, Chief of Staff for U.S. Congressman Paul Hodes (D-NH), brought RoundTable members up to date on the history and future prospects of the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC) via a telephone policy conference call on July 7. Robeson, who said the NBRC had been "his baby" for the last five years, gave the 38 listeners on the call an insider view of where the Commission stands now and what RoundTable members can do to help make it a reality. Read Congressman Hodes' Press Release.

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