Impact of School Sealant Programs Report Released

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a report, “Impact of School Sealant Programs on Oral Health Among Youth and Identification of Potential Barriers to Implementation.” This is the first study to examine children’s cavity risk and school dental sealant program impact in CDC-funded states. This study found that for every four sealants placed, one cavity is prevented. Increasing access to school sealant programs could reduce cavities, especially for children at higher risk for poor oral health.

Click here to learn more.

Dentist and Dental Hygienist Compact: Your Input is Needed!

The National Center for Interstate Compacts within the Council of State Governments shared a resource on the Dentist and Dental Hygienist Compact, a project funded by the Department of Defense. The Dentist and Dental Hygienist Compact is an interstate occupational licensure compact, which is a constitutionally authorized, legally binding, and legislatively enacted contract among states. The compact will enable licensed dental providers to practice in all states participating in the compact, rather then requiring providers to get individual licenses in each state. Interstate compacts already exist for emergency medical service officials, physical therapists, and other medical professionals.

Please review the draft interstate compact and submit comments via the survey. 

Click here for more information.
Click here to review the draft.
Click here to submit comments.

Funding Opportunity: Pennsylvania Oral Health Plan Mini-Grants

PCOH is requesting proposals for the 2022-2023 Oral Health Plan Mini-Grant Program. The purpose of this program is to facilitate the implementation of the goals and recommendations of the 2020-2030 Pennsylvania Oral Health Plan, as well as to advance the oral health of all Pennsylvanians. Requests may not exceed $4,000 with applications due by September 28 at 5:00 pm.

Click here to view the guidelines.
Click here to apply.

Funding for this project is through the Pennsylvania Department of Health through Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under the Preventative Health and Health Services Block Grant. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by CDC, HHS or the U.S. Government.

Reaching Rural Initiative: Applicants Being Accepted!

On behalf of the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA); the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; the State Justice Institute; and the National Association of Counties, the Institute for Intergovernmental Research is excited to share a new initiative, Reaching Rural: Advancing Collaborative Solutions.

This new initiative is grounded in the value of “for rural, by rural.” The hallmark of the Reaching Rural initiative is learning from rural practitioners and facilitating engagement across rural communities.

What is the Reaching Rural initiative?

The Reaching Rural initiative is a one-year initiative. Over the course of the year, the selected individuals and teams will receive coaching and participate in skill-building workshops as well as virtual and in-person learning experiences.

Participation in the Reaching Rural initiative includes:

  • Travel and per diem costs to participate in an orientation, a field visit to observe the implementation of evidence-informed practices in a rural setting, and a closing session at the end of the 12 months. This is not a grant opportunity.
  • Monthly mentorship and guidance aimed toward your local needs.
  • Monthly assignments that help you apply core concepts to your local community or region.
  • Access to a diverse network of rural peers, innovative rural communities, and technical assistance providers.
  • Formal recognition for completing the planning initiative.

Is the Reaching Rural initiative for You?

We are seeking individual practitioners or cross-sector teams from the same community or region interested in adopting bold solutions and reimagining how diverse organizations and agencies with different missions can engage with one another to address the persistent challenge of substance use and misuse in rural communities.

The Reaching Rural initiative is designed for rural agency leaders or mid-level professionals working in counties, cities, or tribes as justice, public safety, public health, or behavioral health practitioners.

Applicants may apply to participate in the Reaching Rural initiative as an individual practitioner or as a member of a cross-sector team from the same community or region. Participation is limited to up to 20 individual practitioners and up to 10 cross-sector teams.

The deadline for applying is September 30, 2022, at 5:00 p.m., ET.

Curious to Learn More?

If you want to learn more about this initiative and application process, join us for an informational webinar on August 31, 2022, at 2:00 p.m., ET. Register at http://s.iir.com/Reaching_Rural.

Some Rural Hospitals Are in Such Bad Shape, Local Governments Are Practically Giving Them Away

ERIN, Tenn. — Kyle Kopec gets a kick out of leading tours through the run-down hospitals his boss is snapping up, pointing out what he calls relics of poor management left by a revolving door of operators. But there’s a point to exposing their state of disrepair — the company he works for, Braden Health, is buying buildings worth millions of dollars for next to nothing.

At a hospital in this rural community about a 90-minute drive northwest from Nashville, the X-ray machine is beyond repair.

“This system is so old, it’s been using a floppy disk,” said Kopec, 23, marveling at the bendy black square that hardly has enough memory to hold a single digital photo. “I’ve never actually seen a floppy disk in use. I’ve seen them in the Smithsonian.”

Not only is Kopec young, he had limited work experience in hospitals before helping lead a buying spree by Braden Health. His prior work experience includes a three-month stint as an intern in the Trump White House, on assignment through his volunteer position in the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. He worked his way through college at Braden Health’s clinic in Ave Maria, Florida, and became a protégé of Dr. Beau Braden, the company’s founder. Now Kopec’s official title is chief compliance officer, second in command to Braden.

The hospitals Braden Health is taking over sit in one of the worst spots in one of the worst states for rural hospital closures. Tennessee has experienced 16 closures since 2010 — second only to the far more populous state of Texas, which has had at least 21 closures.

Read more.

Transforming Rural Health Care in Pennsylvania through Innovation in Payment and Service

On August 17, 2022, the Pennsylvania Rural Health Association held a webinar on rural health care transformation in Pennsylvania through the PA Rural Health Model, as part of its Special Topics in Rural Health 2022 Webinar Series hosted by Rep. Kathy Rapp (R-PA 65th District) and Sen. Michele Brooks (R-PA 50th District).  Gary Zegiestowsky, Chief Executive Officer and Janice Walters, Chief Operating Officer at the Pennsylvania Rural Health Redesign Center discussed how the PA Rural Health Model, through innovation in payment and service, had led to small rural hospital viability and increased community health.

See below for the links to the presentation and recording.

Presentation: Transforming Rural Health Care in Pennsylvania

Recording:  Transforming Rural Health Care in Pennsylvania

COVID-19 Vaccination Record Cards: What to Do When They’re Full

Providers and jurisdictions are raising questions about the procedure for issuing new Vaccination Record Cards if someone’s card is full. The ancillary kits that accompany every COVID-19 vaccine order include vaccination record cards for every dose and if a vaccination card is full, CDC recommends that providers complete a second card for the patient, staple the two together and encourage the patient to photograph both cards in case the two become separated. Patients should present both cards when vaccination history is required for travel, employment, or any other purpose requiring official, universally recognized documentation. They should also bring both cards to future vaccination appointments for verification of vaccination history. Some providers have the option to provide the immunization record from the jurisdiction’s immunization information system (IIS). The record would list the patient’s received doses. However, for travel, employment, or any other purpose that requires official, universally recognized documentation, the IIS record may not be acceptable. Questions may be directed to NIPINFO@cdc.gov.

HRSA Awards $90 Million to FQHCs to Beef Up Data Capabilities

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) announced FY2022 ARP-UDS+ awards totaling $88.6 million to almost 1,400 Community Health Centers nationwide to enhance patient data capabilities and support better health equity during current and future public health emergencies. Announced Monday, the investments are part of more than $7 billion from the American Rescue Plan that the Biden administration set aside to bolster health centers’ workforces and facilities. Modernizing data capabilities will help better tailor health programs to the needs of specific patients or communities, “particularly as part of the public health emergency response,” according to the administration. A state-by-state breakdown of the award recipients here. In Pennsylvania, 44 health centers received a total of $2,882,000.

New Publication: Adapting to the Remote and Hybrid Workforce in Team-Based Care

Telehealth and remote work are going to continue to be a “way of life” even after the continuing COVID-19 pandemic is over. “Best Practices for Adapting to the Remote and Hybrid Workforce in Team-Based Care,” created collaboratively by the STAR² Center and the Health Information Technology, Evaluation, and Quality (HITEQ) Center, provides health center leadership with ideas and best practices on how to adapt policies and procedures for a remote and hybrid workforce. Download the document on adapting to the remote and hybrid workforce.