Oregon Office of Rural Health

December 2020 Newsletter

December 2020 Newsletter Banner

Oregon Rural Health Conference

Thank you to all attendees, speakers, and partners for attending and supporting this year’s 37th Annual Oregon Rural Health Conference. A record number of 540 people registered for the conference and 281 registered for the 2020 RHC Workshop. Our 57 speakers covered topics which ranged from COVID-19 testing strategies in Oregon to how health care systems can partner with parents in rural Oregon to improve children's health to equity and inclusion in healthcare, and how we can better care for our stressed and overloaded providers. See the full agendas here.

On National Rural Health Day, U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley and Oregon Representative Daniel Bonham spoke of the challenges confronting rural Oregon in the year to come, and we honored Orion Falvey, CEO of Orchid Health, 2020 Rural Health Hero of the Year. Thanks to our wonderful partners, including our Gold partners, AllCare Health and the Oregon Rural Health Association, there was no registration fee. The Rural Health Clinic Workshop and conference session recordings are live our website.

New Telehealth Project: Seeking RHC Input

ORH is managing a new project in partnership with the Telehealth Alliance of Oregon (TAO) and the Northwest Regional Telehealth Resource Center (NRTRC). We recognize the numerous challenges associated with offering telehealth in rural and frontier communities, with broadband connectivity and reimbursement as those that are most commonly cited.

This project will catalog and map the telehealth services that Oregon’s 102 Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) offer. This data currently does not exist in one location and is greatly needed to support larger conversations about the challenges of connectivity, reimbursement, and behavioral health access, to name a few.

Please help us understand the telehealth you’ve implemented to address your community’s health needs so we can support these efforts. If you have not yet implemented telehealth at your clinic, we would like to hear about the challenges you face so we can develop training and resources to assist you.

Rose Locklear will reach out to request your help with this project by confirming the telehealth offered at your clinics. If you’re an RHC and want to participate, please email Rose.


Updated Oregon Health Care Provider Loan Repayment Application

Oregon Health Care Provider Incentive Loan Repayment offers licensed health care providers, as well as pre-licensed mental health providers, an opportunity to apply to receive tax-free funds to repay qualifying educational loan debt. This cycle features an updated provider application which, among other items, includes new essay questions. Older versions of the provider application will not be accepted, so please encourage providers to visit the program webpage for the updated application. The current provider application cycle closes at 5:00 pm on January 28, 2021. Eligible providers are highly encouraged to apply as early in the cycle as possible to allow time for information requests about their application. Eligible providers who are unable to submit a completed application before 5:00 pm on January 28, 2021 may apply in the next program application cycle, which opens January 29, 2021 and closes at 5:00 pm on April 29, 2021. For more information on the program, including qualification requirements, FAQs, and applications visit the program webpage.

The Oregon Partnership State Loan Repayment Program is Accepting Applications

The 2020-2021 Oregon Partnership State Loan Repayment Program (SLRP) provider application cycle is now open. Unlike most loan repayment programs, SLRP’s provider application process is not competitive. As long as SLRP funds are available, if an eligible provider (meeting all program requirements) who works at a SLRP qualifying practice site submits a complete application, that provider will receive an award. An awardee’s practice site must provide 50% of the award amount, plus a 10% administrative fee. If an awardee is funded at an amount that is fiscally unfeasible for their practice site to participate, the awardee and practice site may negotiate an award amount that would allow the practice site to participate. For more information on this program, including provider and site applications, please visit the program webpage.

Dec. 31 Deadline for Rural Medical Practitioners Insurance Subsidy

Eligible rural DOs, MDs, and NPs can apply or renew for all of calendar year 2021 between October 1 to December 31. Any affidavits received after the December 31 deadline count towards the next quarter, which begins April 1.

Affidavits and information for this program are online here. Simply click on the section for your licensure - MD, DO, or NP.


Request for Grant Proposals: CAH and EMS Partner Project

ORH is pleased to offer a grant opportunity for one Oregon CAH and a partner EMS agency, with funding up to $5,000. The application period will open December 7, 2020 and close January 29, 2021. Please check the ORH Grant and Scholarship webpage for the application.

Interested CAH-EMS partners should propose work to improve targeted outcomes by strengthening the coordination between pre-hospital and hospital providers, policies and/or programs. Applicants may propose to expand existing programming or implement new projects. Proposals must target a minimum of two improved outcomes for care of patients transferred from pre-hospital EMS to hospital providers.

Grantee requirements include:

  • Complete planning and progress report telephone calls and/or on-site meetings with ORH staff;
  • Identify a minimum of two target improvement measures and baseline benchmarking;
  • Create a brief final evaluation report; and
  • Provide final budget and spend details at the conclusion of the project period.

For more information, please contact Rebecca Dobert | 971-271-0481.

Mountain Range with Highway

Rural Hospitals

Small Rural Hospital Improvement Program Grant (SHIP)

SHIP COVID-19 Awards: Progress Reporting Schedule

A reminder that SHIP COVID-19 award Q3 progress reports are due January 22, 2021, covering the time period of October 1, 2020-December 31, 2020.

Hospitals that have fully expended their funds in Q1 and Q2 should submit reporting only if there have been any retroactive allocation changes; otherwise, you will be reported for $0 spent for all remaining budget periods.

Please review the full report schedule, below for your planning:


  • HRSA Due Date: 7/30/2020
  • ORH Due Date: 7/24/2020
  • Reporting Period: 4/1/2020-6/30/2020


  • HRSA Due Date: 10/30/2020
  • ORH Due Date: 10/23/2020
  • Reporting Period: 7/1/2020-9/30/2020


  • HRSA Due Date: 1/30/2021
  • ORH Due Date: 1/22/2021
  • Reporting Period: 10/1/2020-12/31/2020


  • HRSA Due Date: 4/30/2021
  • ORH Due Date: 4/23/2021
  • Reporting Period: 1/1/2021-3/31/2021


  • HRSA Due Date: 7/30/2021
  • ORH Due Date: 7/23/2021
  • Reporting Period: 4/1/2021-6/30/2021


  • HRSA Due Date: 10/30/2021
  • ORH Due Date: 10/22/2021
  • Reporting Period: 7/1/2021-9/30/2021

All 32 of Oregon’s SHIP-eligible hospitals received SHIP COVID-19 awards in the amount of $84,317. Funding for this supplementary SHIP award was provided from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, and is intended to provide support for expenditures to plan, prepare and respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

Please contact Rebecca Dobert | 971-271-0481 for any and all SHIP questions.

2021-22 SHIP Application Period Approaching – Planning Reminder

As 2020 comes to a close, SHIP-eligible hospitals should begin project and application planning for grant year 2021. The FY21 online application is anticipated to open at the end of December, with a submission deadline in late January 2021.

Awards support rural and frontier hospitals with 49 beds or fewer. Funding may be used in support of value-based purchasing, shared savings programs, to purchase health information technology, equipment, and/or training to comply with meaningful use, ICD-10 standards, and payment bundling. Awards of up to $12,000 per applicant supports these efforts.

Eligible hospitals include those that qualify, but are not current awardees.

For questions about application completion and project planning, contact Rebecca Dobert | 971-271-0481.

14 Oregon Rural and Critical Access Hospitals to Receive Ventilators from HHS

ORH has been coordinating with HRSA and hospitals across the state to acquire ventilators that are being offered by HHS at no cost to rural and Critical Access Hospitals across the nation. Many facilities who responded to the request noted the need for additional ventilators or the need to replace older ventilators within their facility. As of November 19, HHS announced that the delivery of the ventilator units would begin immediately to the facilities that expressed a need. In Oregon, 14 hospitals responded and should receive ventilator units distributed out of the strategic national stockpile. For questions, please contact Stacie Rothwell.

Chartis Center for Rural Health Names Top Ranking Rural and Critical Access Hospitals

The Chartis Center for Rural Health partners with the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) to recognize outstanding performance among rural hospitals in quality, outcomes and patient perspective by naming the NOSORH Performance Leadership Awards each November. The Chartis Center for Rural Health analyzes rural and CAH facilities across the U.S. through the lens of the Hospital Strength INDEX and names the Top 100 facilities across the nation. Congratulations to the following hospitals for making the mark and being recognized as a Top 100 Hospital under the NOSORH Performance Leadership Awards.



  • Adventist Health Tillamook
  • Legacy Silverton Medical Center
  • Mercy Medical Center Roseburg
  • Peace Harbor Medical Center
  • Saint Alphonsus Medical Center Baker City
  • Saint Alphonsus Medical Center Ontario  
  • Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital
  • Sky Lakes Medical Center
  • St. Anthony Hospital
  • St. Charles Prineville
  • Willamette Valley Medical Center

Patient Perspective

  • Coquille Valley Hospital
  • PeaceHealth Cottage Grove Medical Center
  • Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital
  • Salem Health West Valley Medical Center
  • Saint Alphonsus Medical Center Baker City
  • Wallowa Memorial Hospital 


  • Wallowa Memorial Hospital

Congratulations to Wallowa Memorial Hospital, named one of the nation’s Top 20 CAHs!

Chartis uses the iVantage Hospital Strength INDEX to identify the nation’s Top 20 Critical Access Hospitals each September. For more information on the awards from the Chartis Center for Rural Health, visit their website or contact Stacie Rothwell

Congratulations to Wallowa County Healthcare District: 8th Best Place to Work in Healthcare

Wallowa County Health Care District, the governing body of Wallowa Memorial Hospital and Wallowa Valley Senior Living in Enterprise, Oregon, was rated by Modern Healthcare as the Best Place to Work in Healthcare for Millennials in the nation, and the 8th Best Place to Work in Healthcare.

Congratulations to PeaceHealth Cottage Grove Community Medical Center: Honored by Premier Inc.

PeaceHealth Cottage Grove Community Medical Center recently was honored for providing outstanding patient care and setting a high standard in clinical excellence by Premier Inc., a leading healthcare improvement company.

PeaceHealth Cottage Grove was named a finalist for the 2020 QUEST® Award for High-Value Healthcare. Cottage Grove has been an award finalist for each of the past four years, in addition to achieving the award honor in 2016.

Cottage Grove was recognized for achieving top performance among its Critical Access Hospital peer group in Premier’s Quest 2020 collaborative. These hospitals were evaluated for mortality, readmissions, affordability, and safety.

Cottage Grove was one of 24 hospitals nationwide—and the only one in Oregon—to be a finalist for the High-Value Healthcare Award, which recognizes top performance in any four of the five areas of patient care measured by the QUEST collaborative. They include:

  • Affordability;
  • Effective care and coordination;
  • Prevention and treatment for leading causes of mortality;
  • Patient and family experience; and
  • Patient safety.

Cottage Grove Community Medical Center also received a 2020 Premier Supply Chain Excellence Award for the sixth straight year. It was among 14 hospitals nationwide honored for their high-value purchasing practices. The award recognizes advanced purchasing abilities as well as a commitment to share those best practices across the Premier alliance.


Funding and Resources

Registration Now Open For Winter 2021 ECHO Programs

Logo for Project ECHO: Oregon ECHO Network.

The winter 2021 ECHO programs will start in January and include: 

  • Adult Psychiatry I;
  • Trauma-Informed Care for Health and Allied Professionals;
  • Chronic Pain and Opioids;
  • Effective Systems for Treating Addiction; and
  • Substance Use Disorder in Hospital Care.

Also available is a special program for Oregon Nursing Facilities on managing COVID-19. This is offered in partnership with AHRQ and Project ECHO.

All programs are free and offer no-cost CME. 

The programs use the Project ECHO model, which seeks to reduce healthcare disparities in underserved and rural areas by connecting primary care clinicians to expert teams via video for case-based learning sessions, amplifying the capacity for providers to deliver great care in their own communities.

ECHO programs fill quickly. Please visit the website or email the Oregon ECHO Network as soon as possible if you are interested in participating in any of these programs.​

Funding Available to Help Support Public Health Infrastructure

The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) have released a request for proposals to fund up to 50 communities at $50,000 each to evaluate their work to advance health equity by addressing social determinants of health (SDoH). 

The purpose of this funding opportunity is to identify and learn from multisector coalitions with a demonstrated history of addressing the SDoH outcomes related to chronic disease conditions focusing on the built environment, clinical-community linkages, food insecurity, social connectedness, and tobacco-free policies. In order to build the evidence-base for collaborative approaches to SDoH, the project will evaluate and assess through technical support the impact of the coalitions’ recent SDoH experience and highlight successful strategies and interventions. Local, state, tribal, and territorial health departments are encouraged to apply. 

NACCHO has also partnered with ASTHO to offer Improving Social Determinants of Health – Getting Further Faster. The aim is not to fund new innovation, but rather to identify existing projects that could benefit from a thorough evaluation–leading to a rural-specific evidence base.

Applications are due Tuesday December 8, 2020 at 5:00 pm ET.

Meadow with Clouds

Free Health Care Interpreter Training

OHCIA logo

The Oregon Health Care Interpreters Association (OHCIA) is proud to partner with PacificSource to offer its Oregon Health Authority approved online 60-hour Health Care Interpreter training. Course dates are January 2 to March 6, 2021.

This 10-week online course, held on Saturdays, prepares individuals to pass the State requirements for Health Care Interpreter qualification and certification credentials. This is an outstanding opportunity for provider staff and independent interpreters to:

  • OPEN DOORS in health care careers with your bilingual ability and medical knowledge;
  • INCREASE PROFESSIONAL SKILLS to lower the risk of mistakes, keep your community safer, and advance equity in healthcare; and
  • HELP PREPARE yourself to meet standards that the health care system requires of interpreters now.

This free program benefits bilingual individuals currently living and working in the following counties where PacificSource offers services: Hood River, Wasco, Jefferson, Crook, Deschutes, Northern Klamath (Zip codes 97731, 97733, 97737, and 97739), Marion, Polk, and Lane.

Medicare Open Enrollment Period – Now through December 7

If you or a loved one get health insurance through Medicare, your annual open enrollment period—the time when you can change your coverage—began on October 15 and continues through December 7. During this time, you can review your existing coverage, compare traditional Medicare, Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D prescription drug plans or enroll in coverage for 2021.

You do not have to make any changes if you do not want to do so. If you do nothing during the open enrollment period, your plan under traditional Medicare will continue uninterrupted in 2021.

Where can you go to learn more?

If you have other questions about which plan to choose, what your plan covers, or how to change your plan, you can call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) or contact Senior Health Insurance Benefits Association at 1-800-722-4134. Visit the website for more information.

Stay Connected While Social Distancing

Are you a lower income resident of Clackamas County, over 55 and in need of a computer or tablet to stay connected with family and friends? Perhaps you have a family member or friend recovering from COVID-19 and you would like to visit with them virtually. Do you need to schedule video calls with your doctor, or attend virtual meetings?

Contact Access Technologies, Inc., at 503-361-1201 or 800-677-7512 to see if you qualify.

Services are available in any language.

OHSU Department of Neurology is Recruiting for the COZI Project

Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment and Zolpidem for Chronic Insomnia (COZI)  is a new study for people with chronic insomnia in rural communities, to learn which type of treatment works better: medication, behavioral therapy, or a combination of both.

Over 40 million Americans can’t sleep at night. Chronic insomnia (disrupted sleep that occurs at least three nights per week and lasts at least three months) brings significant risks for patients such as increased risks of depression and suicide, reduced health-related quality of life, and increased healthcare costs and use of services. While family physicians are the most commonly consulted professionals, many people with insomnia do not seek treatment or receive evidence-based care.

OHSU can provide primary care clinics with (a) information that will help you treat all your patients with insomnia; (b) provide access to free learning resources including accredited CME, and direct training with foremost experts in sleep medicine; and (c) offer many of your patients the recommended first-line Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) free of charge!

To get involved or learn more, contact Angela Combe.


Hines Oregon

Partners for Health: The NNLM and NIH All of Us Research Program


The Oregon Rural Health Association (ORHA) is collaborating with the Network of the National Library of Medicine (NNLM) and the NIH All of Us Research Program to bring resources to Oregon’s rural health care providers.

Access to reliable, impartial information is the essential foundation of public health. For nearly two centuries, the NNLM has embraced that tenet as its guiding mission, uniting Americans from all walks of life in a common quest for good health through access to evidence-based health information. It’s here for you, too.

The NNLM is the world’s largest biomedical library and a center of innovation in the acquisition and dissemination of health and medical information. A unique education and outreach program of the NLM is the NNLM, coordinated by eight Regional Medical Libraries (RMLs). Programs and services for the NNLM Pacific Northwest Region, covering Oregon, Alaska, Idaho, Montana and Washington, are provided by the RML at the University of Washington in Seattle.

As a network, the eight RMLs in the NNLM collaborate on national initiatives designed to support access to quality health information across the U.S. One example is the NNLM partnership with the NIH All of Us Research Program (All of Us) to build the NNLM All of Us Community Engagement Network or CEN. CEN raises awareness of All of Us and helps the public gain digital health literacy skills to benefit their own health and to participate in the All of Us program.

What is All of Us? It’s a cornerstone of the Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI), which looks at a person through the lens of environment, lifestyle, and biology. All of Us accelerates health research and medical breakthroughs, enabling individualized prevention, treatment, and care by building one of the largest, most diverse datasets of its kind for health research. A long-term research study, the program reflects the diversity of America through its participants. As a result, NNLM’s partnership with All of Us aims to reach everyone living in the U.S. but especially in communities that are historically underrepresented in biomedical research. All of Us is on track to recruit one million or more volunteers nationwide, who will share their health information over time.

Additionally, to support ORHA members, NNLM offers myriad free educational opportunities on a wide range of other topics:

  • On-demand classes, which are self-paced learning sessions;
  • One-hour webinars, also recorded for viewing at your convenience; and
  • Asynchronous multi-week courses for more in-depth learning.

For questions or comments, please contact Community Engagement Coordinator, Michele Spatz at: mspatz@uw.edu or nnlm@uw.edu.

News from Oregon Area Health Education Center

Oregon Area Health Education Center logo

Meet Michelle!

Michelle Murphy

Michelle Murphy is an AmeriCorps member serving with the Healthy Minds Alliance Program as a Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Instructor at Oregon AHEC!

Since starting in September, Michelle has been trained as an instructor for both Youth and Adult Mental Health First Aid by the National Council for Behavioral Health. MHFA courses are ordinarily taught in person, but due to COVID-19, MHFA instructors can now offer these courses virtually. This change not only allows us to expand our reach throughout Oregon, but also reduces the overall cost of the course. Along with co-instructor Petra Gutierrez from Oregon Pacific AHEC, the two hope to bring accessible and affordable MHFA courses to Oregonians throughout the state, and of course to the AHEC scholars.

AHEC Scholars Program Snapshot

Now in its third year, here is a quick look at what the AHEC Scholars program has accomplished to date:

  • 71 program completers, representing more than 10,600 hours of team-based experiential and didactic training;
  • 157 active program participants
    • 8% are veterans
    • 32% identify as underrepresented minority students
    • 36% are from a disadvantaged background
    • 64% are from a rural background; and
  • In response to COVID-19, the program curated 85+ hours of on-demand didactic material and transitioned live events to a virtual environment.

AHEC is Looking Ahead

Our newly formed AHEC Education Development & Innovation (EDI) team is working toward developing 20 hours of eLearning activities by August 2021. The purpose is to strengthen learners' ability to provide high-quality, culturally appropriate health care, and their understanding of, and connection with, Oregon's underserved communities. Activities will be accessible by Oregon AHEC Scholars through our online learning management system as they become ready. Content will address HRSA's six core topic areas.

ORH Spotlight

Congratulations to Oregon’s Community Star!

Stacee Reed

Stacee Reed, ORH’s Program Manager for Recruitment and Retention, was recognized on National Rural Health Day as Oregon’s Community Star, by NOSORH. This annual award honors the people making a rural difference, and winners are published in a book. Read how Stacee is making a difference in communities across the state by helping organizations find the best providers, and helping providers find the right fit for their careers and families. Well done Stacee!

Snowy Fence