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New England Rural Health News


Newsletter of the New England Rural Health RoundTable

News from the New England States

New Hampshire
Here in New Hampshire we are looking forward to, and are busily preparing for, the arrival of our friends and colleagues at the upcoming Rural Health Roundtable Conference in Nashua. The State Office of Rural Health and Community Health Institute will be presenting the process and preliminary findings from the state's ongoing rural health study. Data for the report continues to flow in, but the analysis has already yielded many interesting findings about differences between rural and non-rural parts of the state. These include significant variations in demographics (age, housing, income/poverty, employment, education, etc.), medical & dental insurance coverage, emergency response times, hospitalization rates, injury related mortality, primary care provider mix, and nationality statistics. The analyses will highlight the nature and magnitude of the health-related challenges facing rural communities, and the degree to which those challenges are being met.

Also of note, two of New Hampshire's safety net providers of rural health care were recently awarded grants under the HRSA initiative to expand the federal Community Health Center Program. The Health First Family Care Center of Franklin, NH recently became the newest Federally Qualified Community Health Center in the state, with the award of over $300,000 from the Bureau of Primary Health Care. The center serves a significant portion of a recently designated Health Professional Shortage Area south and west of Lake Winnipesaukee. An existing community health center, Ammonoosuc Community Health Services, in Littleton, NH, was also awarded a significant expansion grant.

Vermont
Domestic Violence Taken Seriously
Governor Howard Dean and the state legislature have created a commission to conduct in-depth reviews of domestic fatalities and make recommendations to reduce the violence. The Commission will examine fatalities in an effort to identify trends and patterns with a goal of making policy recommendations for prevention. It will issue an annual report. In addition, a biennial report will go further, examining trends and making recommendations.

"Domestic violence has a devastating impact on too many Vermont families," Gov. Dean said. "The victims include spouses of abusers, as well as their children - not only those who are physically harmed, but those who witness abuse and run a high risk of becoming abusers too."

In other states, such recommendations have resulted in statutory and procedural improvements to criminal justice and human services. The cost of the review will be covered by federal funding from the U.S. Department of Justice as part of the Federal Violence Against Women's Act.

The need for the Commission was fueled by the numbers. Statistics indicate that a majority of the homicides in Vermont are related to domestic violence. From 1990-2001, 92 of the 173 deaths in Vermont (53%) were related to domestic violence.

Yet nowhere in state government was there one entity responsible for reviewing trends in domestic violence. The effects of this violence are felt not only by the victims, but by their family members, as well. Statistics show that domestic violence is one of the leading factors in driving adolescent victims into violent behavior later in life. Vermont now joins 28 states and the District of Columbia in creating Domestic Violence Fatality Review Groups. The bill signed into law in Vermont was based on Maine's statute.

Newsletter Fall 2002
Page 14
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