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GRHA Newsletter
Week of June 8, 2012

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Georgia Rural Health Association (GRHA) is the oldest state rural health association in the country. Founded in 1981, this nonprofit network of healthcare providers, educators, and individuals is united in its commitment to improve the health and healthcare services of rural Georgians. Join now!

FY 2012 GRHA Board of Directors


Sallie Barker

Immediate Past President

Nannette Turner

President Elect

Denise Kornegay

Vice President

Ann Addison


Sheila Freeman


Deidre Howell

Board Members

Carla Belcher

Laura Bland Gillman

Sue Nieman

Charles Owens

Chris Parker

Carie Summers

Paula Guy

Monty M. Veazey

Shelley Spires

Joseph Barrow

Robert J. Briscione

Matt Caseman 


Meet our Board of Directors

  GRHA Welcomes

     New Member


Individual Member

Alma Jones

Steve Wall

GRHA Corporate Members


Summit Funding Group


Platinum Corporate Sponsor PPHS



Peach State Health Plan 





Blue Cross Blue Shield 


Coca Cola 


WGA logo


  New Funding Opportunity


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced available funding of $70 million to improve the health of small communities across the nation. Grants will be awarded to governmental agencies and non-governmental organizations across a variety of sectors, including transportation, housing, education, and public health, in an effort to save lives and control the nation's growing health care costs associated with preventable chronic diseases.


The official funding opportunity announcement for the Community Transformation Grant program Small Communities component can be found by clicking here


georgia map


YOUR VOICE IS NEEDED. The partisan battles on Capitol Hill have muffled the previously strong bipartisan support for rural hospitals. Your representatives need to hear from you before this funding expires. That is why I ask you to join me and the National Rural Health Association (NRHA) on July 30 and 31 in the March for Rural Hospitals, where we will meet with key congressional leadership asking them to protect rural hospitals.

Keep rural hospitals open. Join NRHA in its march on Capitol Hill to tell Congress to preserve funding to protect our hospitals and communities they serve. Visit NRHA's website at to register today for this free event.


NRHA NEEDS YOUR STORY.  Help us tell Congress how the Medicare Dependent Hospital (MDH) designation and Low-Volume Hospital (LVH) adjustment help your hospital increase services, maintain care and keep your doors open. If Congress does not act soon, MDH and LVH programs will expire.  Share your MDH and LVH story with [email protected] or [email protected].


Call your Members of Congress and tell them to act to protect rural hospitals. Visit NRHA action kit for talking points.




CMS finalizes rules to reduce regulatory burdens


The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently finalized plans aimed at reducing regulations HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius called "unnecessary, obsolete, or burdensome regulations." 

Among the goals of the the new rules are modifications CMS hopes to "let CAHs partner with other providers so they can be more efficient and ensure the safe and timely delivery of care to their patients," according to HHS. Specifically, critical access hospitals (CAHs) will now be allowed to use services provided by contracted health care providers not directly employed by the CAH. This will allow CAH administrators increased flexibility to meet the needs of their individual facilities.

NRHA submitted comments to CMS during the proposed comment period advocating for these changes. The comment letter is available here. A copy of the federal press release is available here. NRHA applauds CMS for its efforts to reduce the regulatory and administrative burdens placed on rural hospitals and for its responsiveness to NRHA's comments and concerns.

Community Facilities Funds Available from USDA


USDA, Rural Development Community Facilities Program  

June Health Observances


For those who want to stay up to date through social networks, please like the Georgia Rural Health Association Facebook page and follow us on Twitter! 

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By joining our social media sites, you have the ability to stay updated on the latest rural health information in Georgia. Please help us spread the word! Thank you for your support and feel free to contact us with any questions.

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GRHA circulates state and national news as an information service only. Inclusion of information is not intended as an endorsement.

2012 Georgia Rural Health Association 

Annual Conference

September 17 -19, 2012

Callaway Gardens, Pine Mountain, GA

2012 Annual conference logo


 Deadline extended to July 1, 2012


 Deadline extended to September 7, 2012


Deadline is August 1, 2012


Callaway Gardens Resort  

Reservations: 1-888-312-8002

Ask for GRHA Rate

MAY 21,  2012 TO AUG. 23, 2012



    Reshaping Medicaid care to affect many 

By Carrie Teegardin and Misty Williams 
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


Georgia is reshaping its Medicaid program, a complex lifeline for 1.7 million vulnerable people that consumes $$21 million in state and federal dollars every single day.

The state is widely expected to announce a plan this summer that would dramatically expand the use of for-profit insurance companies in a new approach to managing Medicaid.

The hope: that the companies would help hold down burgeoning Medicaid costs by emphasizing prevention and better tracking and coordinating care. That should mean fewer poor, disabled and elderly Georgians end up in emergency rooms, that more psychiatric patients remain stable and that doctors share test results instead of ordering duplicates that taxpayers wind up funding.

"The current Medicaid program design cannot be sustained," said David Cook, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Community Health, who expects an annual Medicaid deficit of more than $$600 million within three years. "By acting now, we can save this important safety net program while improving quality care and providing greater value for patients and the public."

A consultant's report in January strongly recommended relying on private companies to manage Medicaid. In the months since, the state has quietly convened task forces of key health care providers and advocates to debate the various options, from maintaining the status quo to letting hospitals and doctors manage the care. State health officials are now preparing to decide on details of the new design. 

Doctors, hospitals, nursing homes and families who rely on Medicaid have expressed worries about the possible fallout if Georgia moves forward as expected. Georgia already ranks 49th nationally in per-person spending on Medicaid. They wonder if it's possible for the companies to improve care, spend less and earn a profit on a program that doctors and hospitals say doesn't pay enough to cover the cost of caring for Medicaid patients.

Among the specific concerns: Would the redesign drive even more doctors to leave Medicaid? Would managed care companies interfere with plans for disabled people that families have spent years arranging? Will patients be turned down for treatments that doctors say they need? Will hospitals make even less money from Medicaid, leading them to charge privately insured Georgians even more? 

No legislative approval is needed for the change in Medicaid management. Gov. Nathan Deal said he believes the state Department of Community Health has taken the right approach by analyzing the options and devoting weeks to hearing the concerns of those who rely on Medicaid.


Go to the Story

Matt and American Heart Association with Governor
Matt Caseman, Executive Director of the Georgia Rural Health Association, (far left) joins with representatives from the American Heart Association and others for a proclamation presentation with Governor Nathan Deal in recognition of CPR Month on June 7th at the state Capitol in Atlanta.

Medicaid more than medical aid 


People like Francel Kendrick once spent most of their lives locked inside state hospitals. Today, because of Georgia's Medicaid program, Kendrick and thousands of disabled people like him can hold down a job and ride a city bus to their own homes after work.


Medicaid isn't just a health plan for low-income people. These days, it's a job training program, relief for a mom with an autistic son and crisis teams to help someone with schizophrenia live a stable life in the community.


State health officials who are redesigning the state's $7.8 billion Medicaid program face an especially tricky task in dealing with recipients who rely on this broad spectrum of services. They are Georgians with developmental disabilities and mental illnesses, as well as foster children and people with disabling physical conditions that keep them in bed or in wheelchairs


Theirs are the most complex cases in the Medicaid system. They also are the most costly. They account for one-fourth of the state's Medicaid population but consume more than half the funding. Further complicating matters, the state is under a U.S. Department of Justice settlement to move mentally ill and disabled Georgians out of state hospitals because of an abuse scandal that erupted in 2007.


Read more

Article by By Misty Williams and Carrie Teegardin

             Why are accident victims sent to Atlanta hospitals?

The first sound is the squealing of locked-up brakes, usually followed by a moment of eerie silence, and then the numbing sound of metal crashing into metal. 

A witness calls 911. And then years of on-going training and practice kick in. 

Coweta 911 begins notifying the appropriate agencies. Rescue personnel with the Newnan Fire Department or the Coweta County Fire Department, depending on the location, are usually first on scene. 

Those first-responders stay in contact with EMS personnel following closely behind. Severely injured trauma victims are treated at the scene, getting them prepped for transport.

And then the patients are transported to the newly-opened and nearby Piedmont Newnan Hospital ...

In reality, and in all probability, that's doubtful.

It's a question that's been raised in several e-mails and Sound Off comments to The Newnan Times-Herald. With a perfectly good, brand new hospital, why are patients being sent to Atlanta hospitals?

The answer is two-fold.

First, most injuries are internal, and what may appear as a simple bump on the head could be much worse. Medical personnel know this, and follow strict guidelines to determine the best place to send patients.

Second, Piedmont Newnan is not equipped - or staffed - to handle trauma cases. It's not a trauma center. In fact, the vast majority of hospitals in Georgia aren't either.


Full Story

Duals: The National Health Reform Experiment We Should Be Talking More About, The Latest "Pulling It Together, From Drew Altman"


Kaiser Family Foundation President Drew Altman discusses the importance of the national demonstration program for Medicare and Medicaid dual eligibles being planned in twenty six states.



MEN'S Wear Blue Mens Health WeekHEALTH WEEK - JUNE 11-17 


Each year, the week leading up to and including Father's Day, is Men's Health Week.  Men's Health Week is a great time to focus on keeping our fathers, brothers, uncles, and sons healthy - by educating them on health issues that disproportionately affect men, raising awareness of preventable health problems, and encouraging early detection and treatment of disease.  
Wear BLUE was created by Men's Health Network to raise awareness about men's health issues.

There is an ongoing, increasing and predominantly silent crisis in the health and well-being of men. Due to a lack of awareness, poor health education, and culturally induced behavior patterns in their work and personal lives, men's health and well-being are deteriorating steadily.
Health of U.S. Tied to Education Gap, Researchers Report

Higher levels of education in the U.S. correlate with longer life expectancy and less obesity, according to the government's annual health report.

Obesity, which leads to chronic ailments such as diabetes and heart disease, was twice as high among boys and three times as high for girls in families whose head of household lacked a degree compared with more educated households. The report, which included a special feature on socioeconomic status and health, was released today by the National Center for Health Statistics.


Health disparities persist even in the face of efforts to lower them, Amy Bernstein, a health services researcher and lead study author, said in a telephone interview. The Department of Health and Human Services has created programs to help reduce the illness inequalities that appear for certain racial and economic groups. Today's report suggests the programs haven't been successful, she said.


Full Story

Mark Your Calendar


Webinar Series: Improving Children's Health through
Federal CollaborationHealthy Homes

 Learn more (PDF)


This webinar is sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency, Region 8, and the Health Resources and Services Administration, Region VIII.



Free Webinar- Sponsored by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the Magnolia Coastlands AHEC, and HTDL


What Every Healthcare Professional Needs to Know About Multiple Sclerosis
Thursday, June 21, 2012
12:00 Noon - 1:00 PM (EST)


What: "The Road to Freedom," a Policy Briefing Luncheon

When: Noon, Wednesday, Jun 27, 2011

Where: The Georgian Club, 100 Galleria Parkway, Suite 1700, Atlanta, GA 30339

Register by Monday, June 25, online at



2012 Annual National Forum on Education Policy  

July 9 - 11, 2012 

Education Commission of the States
InterContinental Buckhead Atlanta Hotel
Atlanta, GA
For more information, contact:


[email protected] 


2012Georgia Rural Health Association Annual Conference

September 17-19, 2012



20th Annual NALBOH Conference

Aug 8 - 10, 2012

National Association of Local Boards of Health

Hyatt Regency Downtown

Atlanta, GA

For more information, contact:

Tracy Schupp

[email protected]


2012 Annual NASCSP Conference

Sep 11 - 14, 2012 

National Association for State Community Services Programs

Grand Hyatt Atlanta

Atlanta, GA 












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