Federal Flex Updates: February 2017

February 2017

I got a personal reminder of the importance of rural health care and the work we do earlier this month. My dad, who lives in rural Eastern Oregon near Idaho, had a badly infected gall bladder that required urgent surgery to remove. Fortunately, I was able to make a short-notice trip to Boise so I could meet my parents at the hospital before Dad's discharge and help him for the first days back home. Large incision surgery is painful enough (his gallbladder was too inflamed for laparoscopic removal), but as you know everything is more complicated when you face a two-hour drive to get home and then another two-hour drive for a follow-up visit with your surgeon. We were lucky and didn't have any snowstorms the week I was home so at least distance wasn't compounded by bad roads.

It's been four weeks since the surgery now and Dad is feeling much better. I'm still thankful to the volunteer emergency medical service (EMS) that transported him to the emergency room, to the critical access hospital (CAH) staff who diagnosed his abdominal pain and referred him to a hospital with an on-call surgeon that night, and to the Idaho surgeon who takes call at an Oregon hospital owned by a separate system to ensure that patients can get the treatment they need. A final thank you to all of you who work to maintain these rural health systems so people like my dad can get health care when they need it.

We had good presentations about population health data that is available for Flex Programs and CAHs from John Gale, Sally Buck and David Marc during the TASC 90 webinar on February 15. If you weren't able to join the live call you can always watch or listen to the recording.

On the grant operations side, I'll make one last reminder: any carryover request must be in the Electronic Handbook (EHB) no later than March 1. We will reject any new requests after that date. The next program-wide milestone will be the Non-Competing Continuation (NCC). I expect the instructions for that to be released in EHB the week of March 20. Of course, you will have 60 days to complete the NCC report after it's released. 

As always, reach out to your project officer when you have grant questions. We also like to hear success stories so let us know when you have a great result from a project you've invested in.

Sarah Young

Flex Program Coordinator

This project is/was supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number UB1RH24206, Information Services to Rural Hospital Flexibility Program Grantees, $1,009,121 (0% financed with nongovernmental sources). 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 HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.