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    Document Summary
    - Report Published -

    Report Document No. 27
    View PDF Version*

    Document Title
    Annual Report on Health Care Workforce and Other Initiatives to Promote Health Equity - July 1, 2007 to June 30, 2008

    Department of Health

    Enabling Authority

    Executive Summary
    Recruitment and Retention Initiatives

    The OMHPHP continues to educate practitioners and employers about the online recruitment resource, PPOVA.org as well as the loan repayment and scholarship programs that are designed to attract and retain primary care practitioners in Virginia’s rural and medically underserved areas. During FY2008, the OMHPHP produced a health care workforce video, Choose Virginia: A Healthy Place to Live and Work. This video has been showcased on the Office Web site, conferences, and YouTube.

    Incentive Programs and Placement of Practitioners in Virginia’s Underserved Areas

    The OMHPHP administers the Virginia Physician and the Virginia State Loan Repayment Programs. These programs offer financial incentives to physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners who are committed to serving the needs of underserved populations and communities in the Commonwealth of Virginia. During FY2008, the OMHPHP provided awards to 22 eligible applicants.

    In addition to loan repayment programs, the OMHPHP administers four nursing scholarship programs. Recipients of the scholarship awards agree to provide service in Virginia after completing their educational programs. The OMHPHP awarded a total of 121 nursing scholarship awards during this fiscal year.

    The OMHPHP also administers the J-1 Visa Waiver (Conrad 30) program. This federally authorized program enables international medical graduates to remain in the country after completing their residency if they agree to work in medically underserved areas. The OMHPHP assisted in the placement of 19 physicians who were granted J-1 Visa Waivers during FY2008.

    As part of the Governor’s budget proposal to address the Commonwealth’s revenue shortfall over the 2008-2010 biennium, state funding for the Physician Loan Repayment Program was frozen for FY2009 and proposed for elimination in FY2010. This decision does not affect any current award recipients, but under the proposal no additional loan repayment awards will be processed. Unexpended balances for nursing scholarship and loan repayment programs were taken as part of the Governor’s budget reduction plan for FY2009, but those programs are all proposed for continuation at full funding levels during FY2010. The private and non-profit sectors, including hospitals and health systems and community health foundations, have a strong interest and continue to work to help attract health care providers to underserved areas. Private and non-profit sector activity should help to mitigate any adverse effects of this reduction in state funding. The OMHMHP will maintain current updates on its webpage regarding other available incentive programs.

    Rural Health

    The OMHPHP serves as the State Office of Rural Health. In this capacity, it manages the Small Rural Hospital Improvement (SHIP) Grant Program and the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility (Flex) Program. During the reporting year, the SHIP program supported rural hospitals in developing network systems to enhance the quality of care in the hospitals, promoting implementation of the Medicare prospective payment system and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA). In addition, hospitals that participate in the FLEX Program performed a comprehensive program evaluation, partnered with the VDH Office of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) to assess EMS capacity in rural regions and participated in a Multi-state Performance Improvement Project as well as several telehealth educational programs.

    In collaboration with over 40 statewide rural partners, The State Office of Rural Health developed an action plan for the advancement of health and healthcare services in rural Virginia. This plan provides an analysis of rural health and will aid in the development of practical strategies that will lead to health improvements in rural Virginia. In addition to the plan, OMHPHP has continued to leverage its resources to support the development of rural health systems of care. As a recipient of the Critical Access Hospital - Health Information Technology Network Implementation Grant (CAHHITN), the OMHPHP has partnered with institutions of higher education, rural communities, organizations and hospitals to implement, design, develop, test and evaluate a model stroke network across the central Shenandoah region.

    Health Equity and Minority Health

    The OMHPHP leveraged partnerships with community leaders, institutions of higher education and government agencies to increase awareness of health inequities and provide technical assistance and training for partners to address their root causes and contributing factors.

    * The Health Commissioner’s Minority Health Advisory Committee embraced this vision and implemented a systematic plan to educate and mobilize members of their communities through presentations, workshops, forums and literature.

    * The OMHPHP partnered with California Newsreel and the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), along with over 100 national partners to promote health equity, using the series Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick? as a catalyst for research, discussion, public engagement, and community mobilization.

    * The OMHPH has developed and facilitated a training program to provide individuals and organizations with the information and tools to lead discussions and action planning to promote health equity.

    * The CLAS Act initiative continued to enhance its award-winning resource, CLASActVirginia.org and also provided VDH employees with telephonic interpretation and translation services and cultural sensitivity training.