Rural Health Network Development Planning Program Applications are due February 28th

The Federal Office of Rural Health Policy is pleased to announce the release of the notice of funding opportunity (NOFO) HRSA-18-034 for Rural Health Network Development Planning Program (Network Planning Program). ). The purpose of this program is to promote the planning and development of healthcare networks in order to: (i) achieve efficiencies; (ii) expand access to, coordinate, and improve the quality of essential health care services; and (iii) strengthen the rural health care system as a whole. Approximately $2 million will be awarded annually for up to 20 awardees during Fiscal Year 2018 project period.  Applications are due February 23, 2018.

The intent of the Network Planning program is to allow applicants the flexibility to determine their unique community needs and focus area(s), based on historical health care context, expertise, and relevant data sources in the community. Past Network Planning projects have had an array of project focus areas including (but not limited to): Care Coordination among Network Partners; Patient Engagement; Data Analytics/Health Information Technology; Rural Hospital Closure/ Conversion; Telehealth. Furthermore, the program creates an opportunity to address the clinical priorities of mental health, substance abuse, and childhood obesity.

If you have any questions about the program or have opportunities for FORHP to present information regarding this funding opportunity, please contact Sara Afayee: or 301-945-4169.

Forget The Numbers. Here’s the Only Thing You Need to Know About a Sugary Drinks Tax in West Virginia.

Photo: Mike Mozart/FlickrCC

Something has to change. You know that as well as I do.

You’ve been bombarded with the enormous numbers for so long now, that they no longer feel like they really mean anything. The tens of thousands of sick children, the hundreds of millions of dollars it costs us, the life expectancy rate falling, the West Virginians dying young.

The facts of the issue are so horrifying that we’ve become immune to them I think.

So I’m not going to throw more numbers at you. Because I know you already know that we have a problem.

All I’m going to ask of you is that you demand that West Virginia’s state legislators do something to begin to fight against the obesity epidemic that is crippling our state and its people. Anything.

Thanks in part to these companies’ relentless pursuit of profits, this generation of young Americans is the first in modern U.S. history to have a lower life expectancy than their parents.

Adding just a few cents to the price of the sugary soda drinks that are partly responsible for this crisis is at least a start.

That’s why we support the proposal for a Sugary Drinks Tax that will be considered in the current legislative session.

Now, you’ll probably hear lots of people raise lots of different arguments against a Sugary Drinks Tax.

That’s because Coca-Cola Co., PepsiCo and their trade group, the American Beverage Association, spend tens of millions of dollars each year on lobbying and public relations to fight against proposals like this.

Why? Because their billion dollar profits depend on people consuming more of their product, despite the fact that it makes them sick. Their marketing particularly targets children. Their profits depend on children consuming too much sugar each day, getting fat and getting sick.

Thanks in part to these companies’ relentless pursuit of profits, this generation of young Americans is the first in modern U.S. history to have a lower life expectancy than their parents.

The proposal is simple. By adding a few extra cents to cost of the soda that is making our kids sick, we can hopefully discourage them from drinking so much of it. And that tax of a few cents will provide a new revenue stream of millions of dollars to pay for health services in West Virginia.

In the City of Philadelphia, a new soda tax was projected to bring in $46 million in the first six months of 2017. It only produced about $40 million. That sounds like a revenue failure that I think West Virginia could really use.

Right now, we need every dollar we can get to help West Virginia’s sick and underserved population, and to improve the health of our future generations.

Like I said, the soda companies and their lobbyists will be working hard to smokescreen and confuse you about the issue.

You’ll hear that this is “a micro solution to a macro problem” – that reducing consumption of sugary drinks is not going to solve the entire problem of obesity or the connection between poverty and poor health in America.

No, it won’t. But it’s a start. This argument is just an excuse to do nothing. It’s kind of like saying that requiring people to wear seatbelts is not going to prevent all car accident injuries, so we shouldn’t bother.

You’ll also hear that it won’t generate as much money for health programs as supporters will calculate.

One such “failure” that opponents highlight is in the City of Philadelphia, where a new soda tax was projected to bring in $46 million in the first six months of 2017. It only produced about $40 million.

That sounds like a revenue failure that I think West Virginia could really use.

The health of all West Virginians, particularly children, stand to benefit from this effort to reduce the consumption of sugary drinks.

Soft drink companies stand to lose a small fraction of their multi-billion dollar profits.

As debate continues this year about instituting a Sugary Drinks Tax in West Virginia, pay attention to which side your legislator fights for.

To learn more about what the West Virginia Rural Health Association is supporting this legislative session, contact Executive Director Debrin Jenkins at


School Year 2017 -2018 (October 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018)
The West Virginia Oral Health Coalition is pleased to announce that we are again partnering with Oral Health
America focusing on improving children’s oral health in West Virginia. Oral Health America’s “Smiles Across
America” program has generously donated $10,000 to support school-based dental programs, private dentists, and
programs working in collaboration to provide dental sealants to the children of West Virginia.
The funding will go to offset the costs of providing preventive care (specifically sealants) to those uninsured or
underinsured children throughout the state. Eligible Children include:
(1) Those who do not have private dental insurance
(2) Those who have private dental insurance but it doesn’t cover sealants
(3) Those who are not eligible to receive Medicaid/CHIP assistance.
The funding in its entirety will be used to cover the services highlighted below. Reimbursement for services will
only be available until funding is depleted. Once the grant funds are exhausted, participating providers will be
notified immediately. Providers must agree to accept the reduced rate for those covered services and must work
with the child’s family to assure necessary additional treatment is provided. Provider must also agree to serve as
the dental home or work to establish a dental home for the child. Providers may only submit reimbursement for
those services NOT covered by another program or insurance provider. Providers will be responsible for verifying
that the child is not eligible for other coverage such as CHIP/Medicaid. Providers must also bill other insurance or
programs for those children with pre-existing coverage. This program is not intended to be a budget supplement.
Covered services along with rates and restrictions are listed below:
Dental Sealants ADA Code D1351 per Tooth $30 (permanent molars only, covered one time a year per student per
The following codes can ONLY be billed in conjunction with sealant placement:
Child Prophylaxis ADA Code D1120 $40
Bitewing x-rays ADA Code D0272 $20
Fluoride Varnish Treatment ADA Code D1206 $20
In submitting for reimbursement the provider is agreeing to the terms listed above. Checks will be issued on a
monthly basis until funds are depleted and providers are encouraged to submit claims in a timely fashion. To
receive reimbursement, a copy of the attached invoice along with the ADA billing form will need to be submitted
Gina Sharps, WVOHC Coordinator
All invoices should be emailed to:
Please direct any questions or concerns to Gina Sharps at or 304-276-0572

Register-Herald: Hey West Virginia, Sen. Manchin Wants to Hear What CHIP Means to You

Photo: FlickrCC

By Wendy Holdren/Beckley Register-Herald

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., is asking West Virginia families to share stories on how the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) has made an impact in their lives and the lives of their children.

CHIP provides health insurance to almost nine million children in America, and ensures that more than 21,000 children in West Virginia have access to needed healthcare services.

To share your CHIP story with Sen. Manchin, email it to

“As any West Virginian, I believe that we must take care of our children first and foremost,” Manchin said. “No matter where a child lives or how much their family makes, we owe it to them to make sure they receive the best health care available.”

He called Congress’ failure to reauthorize CHIP “disgraceful.” The program expired Sept. 30 this year, and unless the program is reauthorized, West Virginia is expected to freeze enrollment in the program Feb. 28, 2018.

CHIP in West Virginia is currently 100 percent funded by the federal government. Without CHIP, Manchin said tens of thousands of West Virginian children are at risk of losing health insurance coverage…

Read the full story at

Follow the author on Twitter @WendyHoldren

Healthcare Dive: Study Shows Health Benefits of Early Access to Medicaid Extend for Generations

Photo by Amila Pradeep/FlickrCC

By Meg Bryant/Healthcare Dive

Dive Brief:

  • Access to health services in utero and during early childhood improves not only the health outcomes of those children but of their offspring as well, in terms of higher average birth weight and reduced incidence of very low birth weight, a new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research finds.
  • The researchers analyzed data in the 1994-2015 Vital Statistics Natality files to see the impact of an individual’s early Medicaid eligibility on later offspring’s health at birth. All of the infants’ mothers were born between 1979 and 1986, when changes in eligibility rules led to big uptick in prenatal Medicaid coverage.
  • They found that a 10% rise in the first generation’s in utero Medicaid eligibility raises the second generation’s average birth weight by 4.4 grams and lowers the incidence of very low birth weight by 0.1%…

Read the full story at

West Virginia HPV Vaccination Campaign

Image result for hpv vaccine

2016 Adolescent Vaccination Coverage Data Released 

Results from the National Immunization Survey 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently published National, Regional, State, and Selected Local Area Vaccination

Coverage Among Adolescents Aged 13-17 Years-United States, 2016 in MMWR.

Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors Endorses Promotion of the HPV Vaccine to Reduce the Risk of HPV-Related Oropharyngeal Cancers

On July 10, the Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors (ASTDD), a national nonprofit organization that represents the directors and staff of state public health agency programs for oral health, published a white paper on human papillomavirus and oropharyngeal cancer in which they endorsed promotion of the HPV vaccine to reduce the risk of HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer. ASTDD emphasized that:

“State oral health programs (SOHPs) can play a critical role in facilitating evidence-based state and community practice interventions and messaging campaigns aimed at effectively promoting the HPV vaccine. Through external and internal partners, SOHPs can help develop collaborative partnerships and referral networks that can empower an interprofessional workforce of dental and medical practitioners to promote use of the HPV vaccine for their patients and increase the rates of completion of the HPV vaccination series.”

In addition, ASTDD recommended incorporating HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer awareness strategies into oral health promotion efforts and healthcare professional academic curricula.

The ASTDD white paper is available to download at; scroll to Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and Oropharyngeal Cancer (July 2017).

For More Information