Organization Newsletter

March 2017

In this issue...

  1. Executive Director's Message
  2. Telepsychology to Support Physicians
  3. UW Students Study Marijuana legalization issues in Adams County
  4. 2017 WRHA Awards Winners!
  5. 5 Games to Reduce Risk of Alzheimer's
  6. Rural Health Funding Opportunities
  7. Get Involved!!
  8. Upcoming Educational Events
  9. WA State Legislative & Hospital News
  10. New Board Members


Welcome to the
March 2017 issue of the Washington Rural Health Association e-Newsletter.
Inside this issue you will find news and information from the new Executive Director and board of directors, members, and community partners from across the state of Washington. 

If you would like to submit your own story, please click here.

The WRHA e-newsletter is a publication of Washington Rural Health Association, a not-for-profit association composed of individual and organization members who share a common interest in rural health. This e-newsletter seeks to disseminate news and information of interest to rural health professionals and stakeholders to help establish a state and national network of rural health care advocates.

WRHA Members

WRHA members include administrators, educators, students, researchers, government agencies and workers, physicians, hospitals, clinics, migrant and community clinics, public health departments, insurers, professional associations and educational institutions. If you are interested in joining or renewing your membership with WRHA click here.




Submitted by: Beionka Moore, Executive Director
[email protected]

Hello and welcome to March’s Newsletter! 

Very interesting times in Washington, DC, to say the least!  I was honored to represent the WRHA at the National Rural Health Association's 28th Annual Rural Health Policy Institute, held in Washington, D.C. in early February.  The Rural Health Policy Institute is the largest rural advocacy event nationwide and brings together members of Congress, Administrators, Public Health Officials, and health care experts from across this country.  The Rural Health Policy Institute is a unique opportunity for advocates of rural health to call on senators and representatives to inform and educate them on the issues that are important to WRHA members.  This year’s attendance exceeded capacity and while the event energy felt tones of uncertainty, the mood was generally enthusiastic. 

As WRHA’s Executive Director, I heard about and listened to the current concerns of importance to you.  A few of those issues included the elimination of the CAH 96-hour condition of payment, sponsoring the Save Rural Hospitals Act, decreasing the flood of rural hospital closures, and providing much needed access to care in rural communities.  Each topic was addressed during Capitol Hill meetings with legislators and their staff.  I also served as the state association's rural health congress member and attended their meetings. The main role of the NRHA rural health congress is to develop and approve public policy positions and to identify and represent the health care needs of rural America, as well as for Washington State. 

Common issues seen everywhere were access to care, costs of care, and health workforce shortage.  Rural health care has taken a hit as hospitals have closed and fewer doctors seek to practice in rural areas.  According to a report presented during  this event, half of Washington rural providers operate at a loss. 

One thing is most certain. If we want to affect change in a positive way and stop rural hospital closures, we must come together.  Now more than ever before we need a unified voice to fight and save rural hospitals.  Protecting those most vulnerable, and fighting to restore funding to rural communities.  After such strong grassroots and advocacy efforts in DC, forty-one Senators sent a letter to the new Health and Human Services Secretary, Tom Price, urging him to support health care in rural communities.  WRHA and NRHA were pleased to see the valuable bipartisan show of support for rural health care.  Lawmakers are listening to the rural voice, so make your voice heard!

WRHA is committed to building a better, workable system. We will continue to work with you and for you!  For WRHA to remain an effective organization that advocates for rural health and offers commonality for legislative concerns, we need your input and support to accomplish goals and make a difference.

WRHA and you will help improve access to care in rural Washington and strengthen rural leadership. We are committed to protecting rural health. Let us know how we can best serve you!


(Pictured, from Left to Right): Beionka Moore WRHA Executive Director; Keith Watson President at Northwest University in Yakima (WRHA board member); Jacob Thatcher 2017 NRHA Fellow & Pacific Northwest College of Medicine, Medical Student, Yakima WA; Sarah Huling X-Ray Technician at Forks Community Hospital, 2017 NRHA Fellow.

Please feel free to contact: Beionka Moore at [email protected] to find out more information.  

Like, follow or connect to WRHA now on Facebook, Linked-In and Twitter! 

P.O. Box 882
Spokane, WA  99210

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Telepsychology to Support Physicians and Patients

Submitted by: Bobbi Meins (article written by Dr. Trevor Davis, licensed psychologist in Washington State)
[email protected]

An urgent issue in mental health care today is how to increase access to psychological services in rural areas.  Pacific has found telehealth to be an effective and affordable way of providing meaningful services to treat an array of mental and behavioral health needs.  As of January 1, 2017, the telemental health parity law in Washington mandates telemedicine coverage equal to reimbursement for in-person care under private insurance and state employee health plans. Access to telehealth services is becoming a reality.

The state of Washington has approximately 7 million people – at any given time, nearly 1 million of these people are reporting poor mental health (Washington State Department of Health, 2008).   There is also a significant shortage of mental health care providers in much of Washington.  As of January 2017, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, only 42% of Washington’s mental health needs were being met (Health Resources and Services Administration, 2017).  Telehealth services are a solution for these issues, as needed mental health services can be extended through partnerships with patients and providers throughout the state.

Services that can be offered via telehealth include:

  • Identifying risk factors that may compromise care and impact rehabilitation or healing.
  • Providing clinical pre and post-surgical patient assessments.
  • Providing a route for quickly responding to patients in chronic or acute crisis.
  • Offering support around life transitions and emotional response to illness.
  • Offering patient support that can decrease resistance or non-compliance and speed their recovery.

Telehealth offers many advantages for the patient:

  • Flexible and tailored to the needs of individual patients and their families.
  • Effective way to support behavioral change that can improve health.
  • Practical for patients with barriers due to transportation, geographic, or physical limitations.
  • Access to licensed psychologists who understand chronic illness.

Telehealth offers many advantages for the healthcare provider:

  • Able to offer self-sustaining integrated behavioral health as a clinic service.
  • Cost effective with minimal overhead and good reimbursement for services.
  • Staff have regular contact with licensed psychologists with specialties in the treatment of chronic illness.
  • Scalable services depending on patient and clinic needs.
  • Improved treatment compliance for challenging patients.
  • Readily available technical support before, during, and after clinical services.

With the rapid changes in technology the implementation and use of telehealth has become both accessible and cost effective.   
Behavioral health services can be integrated into various clinic settings. Licensed Psychologists from
Pacific Rehabilitation Centers become collaborative team members so that patients can address issues that impede their overall health.   
For more information, call Bobbi Meins at 425.777.4003.


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UW Students study Marijuana legalization issues in Adams County

Submitted by:  Peter House, UW and Karen Potts, Adams County
[email protected]
[email protected]

Between December 4 and December 7, 2016, eight graduate students (see photo) from the University of Washington (UW) School of Public Health visited Adams County.  The students are working on master’s degrees in public health practice, and they are enrolled in the Community-Oriented Public Health Practice Program at the UW.  They completed an assignment at the Adams County Health Department as part of the county’s Community Health Improvement Plan.  They developed (and tested) a survey to identify perceptions and attitudes toward marijuana growing, sales, and use in the county.  They surveyed (and interviewed) over 160 residents in Othello and Ritzville.

Karen Potts, Personal Health Director for Adams County Health Department prepared the student assignment, which was done in coordination with the Adams County Health Alliance.  According to Ms. Potts, “The students were resourceful and skilled and they helped us jump-start our efforts to make sure we consider public perceptions and health effects as we work to develop educational programs and policies around marijuana use and sales in our county.”

The students have prepared a written report on their findings, and they have made presentations in December at the UW and in Adams County on January 23.

Peter House was the faculty facilitator from the School of Public Health.  “This project was one of a series of such projects in rural communities.” House said.  “Our students have worked on similar projects in recent years in Okanogan, Whatcom, Pacific, Mason, Grays Harbor, and Pacific Counties.  This is our attempt to make sure that our students are exposed to joys and challenges of rural public health practice in their training.”

If you are interested in talking about a student project in your community, Mr. House can be contacted at [email protected].  Karen Potts can be reached at [email protected].

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        2017 WRHA Award Winners!

Submitted by: Beionka Moore, Executive Director

Lifelong dedication to improving the health of the rural population of our region was the common thread for the annual awards presented at the Northwest Rural Health Conference.  Awards from the Washington Rural Health Association were presented by Washington’s Secretary of Health, John Wiesman, and Beionka Moore, Executive Director, Washington Rural Health Association. 

Three awards were presented this year:
Mary Selecky Friend of Rural Health: Eric H. Larson, PhD, Research Associate Professor, Director - WWAMI Rural Health Research Center - MEDEX Northwest

(Pictured: Eric Larson with wife, Mary Hausladen and daughter, Sarah Larson)

Outstanding Contribution to Rural Health: Chief Gordon Pomeroy 

(Pictured: Chief Gordon Pomeroy with Sandra Smith-Poling, MD EMS Medical Program Director – Jefferson Health)

Dr. John Anderson Memorial Award for Outstanding Rural Health Practitioner: Dr. Yong Ki Shin and Dr. Clara Chon Shin.

(Pictured: Dr. Yong Ki Shin with John McCarthy, MD and Michelle Pelt, MBA Western WA WWAMI Region University School of Medicine)


(Pictured:  Beionka Moore, WRHA Executive Director with the 2017 winners)

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5 Games that May Reduce Risk of Alzheimer's

Submitted by:  George Mears
[email protected]

Because dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are characterized by brain health deterioration, it is important that you stimulate your brain and exercise it to prevent atrophy just as you do your muscles. One of the best ways to exercise your brain is to play games that are mentally challenging. To help you find games that may reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s, we share five suggestions below.

1. Bridge and Other Card Games

University of California, Irvine researchers determined that people who play Bridge on a regular basis reduced their risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s. Bridge is a card game that especially requires mental activity such as critical thinking, strategy, and social interaction. Seniors who want to maintain healthy brain function should play for three or four hours at a time to maximize the brain benefits of playing the game.