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What is a Maternity Care Desert?

Maternity care deserts pose a significant challenge to rural Tennesseans, where access to comprehensive maternal healthcare services is often limited. In these areas, the shortage of obstetricians, gynecologists, and maternity care facilities creates what are essentially maternity care deserts. Pregnant individuals in rural Tennessee face increased difficulties in finding accessible and timely prenatal care, essential for monitoring the health of both mother and baby throughout pregnancy. The absence of nearby obstetric care providers in these deserts contributes to delayed or inadequate medical attention, leading to potential complications during pregnancy and childbirth.

The impact of maternity care deserts on rural Tennesseans is evident in the higher rates of maternal and infant mortality, as well as adverse birth outcomes. Limited access to proper maternal healthcare services exacerbates existing health disparities, disproportionately affecting vulnerable populations in these regions. Women in rural areas may encounter difficulties in securing transportation to distant healthcare facilities, further hindering their ability to access timely and necessary prenatal care. As a result, the health outcomes for both mothers and infants in rural Tennessee can suffer, underscoring the urgent need for targeted interventions to address these disparities.

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Webinar with Vizient Mark Webb Now Available

If you missed the October 20th webinar with Mark Webb, Principal, you can access the presentation through our Resource Center under RHC Network on our website here

Mark Webb, Principal, with the Facilities and Construction team at Vizient works to educate members about the solutions and value opportunities available to members in the capital and construction areas. As a former member in the C-Suite, he has extensive experience in hospital administration and operations, along with 25+ years in civic, aviation and hospital construction.

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Child Health Month

This October we would like to send a thank you to all our members fighting for a healthier Tennesse for our youth. Child Health Month in Tennessee is a significant annual observance dedicated to raising awareness and advocating for the well-being of children in the state. Throughout the month of October, we ask everyone to join is in promoting a healthier lifestyle and preventive healthcare measures, such as vaccinations, regular check-ups, proper nutrition, and sharing mental health resources to ensure that children in Tennessee are able to have a long healthy life.

During Child Health Month we urge all organizations, healthcare professionals, and community leaders to help shed light on the importance of early intervention and access to quality healthcare for children. Tennessee recognizes that child health is essential not only for the individual well-being of children but also for the future prosperity of the state. This observance serves as a reminder that investing in the health and development of the youngest Tennesseans is crucial for building a brighter and more promising future for the entire community.

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Tennesse Disability Pathfinder

Disability Pathfinder Flyer with PicturesAccessing disability services, especially in rural areas, has been a persistent challenge for many individuals and families. Tennessee Disability Pathfinder, or "Pathfinder," serves as a comprehensive resource hub to simplify this task. With a directory containing over 3,000 agency resources organized by county, including rural and marginalized communities, Pathfinder connects people with disabilities, their families, educators, and professionals to essential disability resources and services throughout the state.

Pathfinder's user-friendly website, Home - Tennessee Disability Pathfinder (tnpathfinder.org), offers an intuitive search tool, allowing users to narrow down results based on various criteria such as the stage of life, topic of interest, diagnosis, payment options, and service area. Users can create accounts to access additional features, including bookmarking resources, saving searches, submitting agency resources, and posting calendar events. The website also prioritizes accessibility, offering translation options in multiple languages.

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A Conversation with Jacy Warrell

The conversation with Jacy Warrell, the CEO of the Rural Health Association of Tennessee, provides valuable insights into the challenges and initiatives related to rural healthcare in Tennessee. It's clear that addressing the gaps in rural health is a top priority for her organization. Warrell emphasizes the importance of including rural communities in healthcare discussions and planning for the future of Tennessee. Rural areas make up a significant portion of the state and are home to a substantial underserved population. Inclusivity in these discussions ensures that the unique healthcare needs of rural Tennesseans are considered and addressed. She also sheds light on what Rural Health Association of Tennessee is doing to bridge those gaps.

The Rural Health Association of Tennessee has been actively involved in workforce development by awarding over a thousand certificates to high school and community college students. These certificates cover various healthcare careers, including Nursing Assistant, Phlebotomy, EKG, Patient Care Tech, and Community Health Workers. This program plays a crucial role in preparing individuals for healthcare careers, especially in rural areas where access to education and training can be limited.

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Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Breast Cancer Awareness Month is about empowering individuals, reducing the impact of breast cancer, and working towards a world where the disease no longer poses a significant threat to women's health. Awareness empowers individuals with knowledge about the disease, its risk factors, and the importance of early detection. By understanding breast cancer and its potential impact, people can make informed decisions about their health and take preventive measures.

We encourage women to schedule regular screenings, such as mammograms, and perform self-examinations, allowing early detection. When women are proactive in their health, the chances of successful treatment, if necessary, are highest. Early detection can significantly improve survival rates and reduce the physical and emotional burden on patients and their families.

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Advancing Facilities and Construction Spend Management Webinar

Join RHA and Vizient for a partner webinar on "Advancing Facilities and Construction Spend Management" on October 20th at 11am CDT. 

Learn more about how he continued increase in the cost of building materials has added to the financial stress in an already burdened healthcare industry. As health systems continue to expand to meet patient needs, the need to rethink their capital strategies to ensure the delivery of projects that meet patient needs in the most operationally efficient and cost effective manner has never been more relevant. As leaders look to the future, there is a clear need to develop more integrated and comprehensive strategic solutions.

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New Partner Announcement

Rural Health Association of Tennessee (RHA) is proud to announce it has been awarded a sub-contract from Findhelp as part of TennCare's Health Starts Initiative.

Findhelp is a technology company that connects individuals needing social care services with community providers in an efficient and easy-to-navigate Closed-Loop Referral System (CLRS), while protecting privacy. They will provide the technology that allows TennCare to assess non-medical risk factors of individuals in need through a unified approach and refer them to community-based organizations that can meet their needs, while tracking outcomes.

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25 Food, Housing, Health, Youth, and Job Resource Agencies for East Tennessee Families

Food Resources

Compassion Coalition: This program will share the availability and hours of food pantries in the area. You can contact Compassion Coalition at 865-251-1591. 

Love Kitchen: This program serves in-house lunch on Wednesdays and Thursdays. You can connect with Love Kitchen by calling them at 865-546-3248.

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Call for Board Nominations (2024)

From RHA of TN's Past President of RHA of TN's Board of Directors:

I am excited to issue a call for nominations from our members that would like to serve on the Board of Directors. The board provides governance, direction, and oversight of the Association and its many programs, projects, and activities. There are 3 seat openings (1 - West, 1- Middle, and 1 - East) for the 2024 - 2026 term.

Board positions are for a three-year term, with an option to renew for another three years after the conclusion of the first term. The commitment involves 4 meetings annually, attendance at the annual conference, and serving on at least 1 committee of the board. To be eligible, an individual must be a member in good standing and live in Tennessee.

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Congratulations to the following RHA Members who are Among the First to be Awarded Grant Support as Part of TDH's Healthcare Resiliency Program

Congratulations to the following RHA members for their recent grant awards from TDH in the state's commitment to healthcare resiliency and transformation in the following categories: 

Practice Transformation and Extension Grant Program – Hospitals
Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Unity Medical Center, Macon Community Hospital

Practice Transformation and Extension Grant Program - Other Health and Healthcare Service Providers
Access Medical Care of Monroe County, Bledsoe County School District, Bradley County Schools, Dayton County Schools, East Tennessee State University, Healing Hands Health Center, Inc. , Mountain Hope Good Shepherd Clinic, Inc., Servolution Health Services, Inc., UT Health Science Center, Van Buren County Schools.



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Signs of Suicide Training for Parents and Guardians

Signs of Suicide Training for Parents and Guardians Webinar

Join RHA of TN during Mental Health Awareness Month in May to learn about the Signs of Suicide (SOS) for parents and guardians. Presenting this SOS Training is Fiona Hoehn, Mental Health Training Coordinator for Mental Health of America of the Midsouth. Fiona is certified to instruct Adult and Youth Mental Health First Aid, QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer), and Signs of Suicide. This is an hour-long universal suicide prevention training for parents and guardians that teaches how to recognize warning signs of suicide in youths.  

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Tennessee Brighter Futures ACEs

Brain Links is sharing a brief set of resources with partners as part of Tennessee Disability Coalition’s Tennessee Brighter Futures (TBF) Collaborative. The mission of TBF is Building brighter futures for Tennesseans by improving how systems of support collaborate to identify, educate and serve people with co-occurring needs.

The Collaborative meets every other month to learn about the intersections between brain injury and other systems of support and have a speaker from one of the systems present to our group. We learn more from each system as we go and we actively exchange resources like infographics, websites, screening tools and training to share to support one another and ultimately, better support those we serve.  

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2022 Annual Report

RHA is delighted to share a summary of our member events and  programs for 2022. Thank you to our members, staff, funders, and many community partners for your support the past year!

Click here to view the online report
Click here to download a PDF of the report

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Medical Coding Grant press release post

                                                                  Jackson State Community College | Jackson State Community College

Medical Coding Program to receive $1.2M grant for West Tennessee students

Grant aims to fill critical healthcare positions, paying for training

The Health Resources & Services Administration’s (HRSA) Delta Region Rural Health Workforce Training Program awarded The Jackson State Community College (JSCC) Medical Coding Program a $1.2 million grant for supplying training, scholarships, and support to students in West Tennessee. The HRSA training program grant focuses on improving healthcare delivery in rural areas by training future and current healthcare professionals for high-quality, good-paying jobs in rural counties. The grant outlines critical needs for administrative support professions in areas such as medical coding and billing, insurance claims processing, and health information management. And as a strategic community partner, the Rural Health Association of Tennessee will aid students in recruitment, formal training, social needs, and job placement. This grant will run from September 1st, 2022, through August 30th, 2026. 

If you are interested in applying to the Medical Coding Program, please contact Chrystal Taylor at [email protected]
For more information on the Medical Coding Program, go to www.jscc.edu/mc
 
 
This program is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $1,204,591 with zero percentage financed with non-governmental sources. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS, or the U.S. Government. For more information, please visit HRSA.gov.

TN-RHC Network Planning Activities

Tennessee Rural Health Clinic (TN-RHC) Network Updates

July 1, 2022, Rural Health Association of Tennessee (RHA) received a HRSA Planning Grant (P10RH45771‐01‐01)  to build capacity to support the state's more than 200 Rural Health Clinics (RHCs). With an Advisory Committee of independent and provider-based RHCs and others the group conducted site visits, surveys, and focus groups to explore how RHA can support integrating RHCs into the larger healthcare system. Here's what we've been up to! Activities have been made possible thanks to the generous support of National Rural Health Association, Center's for Disease Control (CDC), and Health and Human Resources Services Agency (HRSA).

September 20th-22nd, RHA sent TN-RHC Advisory Member Candance Garrett with Ascension/Saint Thomas to National Rural Health  Association's RHC conference in Kansas City, MO for the latest in RHC policy and updates. Also pictured, Alicia Calloway, RHA's Chief Operating Officer, Andrew Burnett, THA's VP Rural Hospitals, and Jacy Warrell, RHA's CEO.

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TennCare Tri-Star Campaign

TennCare is beginning a Tri Star Campaign to test the member addresses they  have on file. THIS WILL NOT AFFECT ANYONE’S COVERAGE. As they continue to prepare for the public health emergency unwinding (HHS Secretary Beccera renewed the PHE on 10/13/22), they want to make sure the addresses that TennCare has are accurate. Over the next two months, TennCare will send out a letter to each household. They will be asking people to be on the lookout for the letter and to notify us if they don’t receive a letter in the next two months. Additionally, TennCare will be conducting research on mail that is returned without a forwarding address.

FAQS

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Partnership and Leadership award

    TPHA Executive Director Kim Harrell; TPHA President Christian Williams, DrPH, MPH;
 

Rural Health Association of Tennessee has been awarded the Partnership and Leadership Award from the Tennessee Public Health Association 


"This award is presented to a non-public health professional, group, or organization that has made a significant contribution on behalf of public health, which is extraordinary and would set an example for others. By proactively involving its members, partner organizations, and policymakers, RHA identifies rural health concerns and works to resolve those issues through service, education, and advocacy" - The Tennessee Public Health Association
SPACE
SPACE
RHA is proud to accept the Partnership and Leadership Award from the Tennessee Public Health Association. 
 
 

RHA Announced as Apprenticeship Ambassador by the U.S. Department of Labor

In November 2021, Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh announced the Apprenticeship Ambassador Initiative to bring   together industry, labor, education, equity and workforce leaders to partner with the department’s Office of Apprenticeship to promote Registered Apprenticeships as a valuable workforce strategy in high-demand industries to develop and expand opportunities for people historically underserved.

The goal of RHA’s apprenticeship program is to support the recruitment and retention of entry level healthcare workers such as Certified Nursing Assistants and Community Health Workers. Serving as an “Apprenticeship Sponsor,” RHA assists healthcare employers who need a partner in establishing a program and when possible, finding resources to support apprentices.

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Infant Formula Update

There’s nothing as important to families as the health and safety of their babies, and the formula shortage has left many people feeling anxious about how they’ll feed them. Some young children, teens, and adults with medical needs also rely on formula for their nutrition. We know it’s not easy to change a diet reliant on formula.

If you can’t find formula in stock, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has the following resources:
Press Release: FDA Provides Educational Resources for Parents and Caregivers to Support Confidence for Imported Infant Formula Products
Resources page: Resources for Parents and Caregivers on Imported Infant Formula
Consumer Update: Infant Formula Supply