2015 Alabama Rural Health Conference

November 19 and 20 in Prattville

                     Additional Information to Follow!

            Randolph County Residents Send Loud Message –                “We Want to Keep Our Hospital”

(Reprinted from The Randolph, August 5, 2015)


Serves as an Inspiration for All Rural Residents


WEDOWEE--Randolph County voters have spoken: there will be a new hospital. The yes voters overwhelmingly approved a one-percent sales tax for a new hospital, 4,775 votes or 85.99 percent to 778 or 14 percent.


The yes votes soundly defeated the no votes in every box including the Roanoke box at the National Guard Armory where 918 voted yes and 380 voted no. It was thought the competition between Wedowee and Roanoke would sink the vote in the armory but as in other boxes voters soundly approved the tax.


Bill Caypless, Randolph Healthcare Authority chairman, who has worked tirelessly to educate people on this issue, said they will immediately tackle getting an architect and financing. He would like to see four or five architects to help keep the costs down as they offer options and competitive prices.


He does not think that has to be put out for bids but the contractor will have to be bid.

Volunteers who worked hard on the election, those who wanted a hospital, and Tanner Health System officials were celebrating across from the courthouse in Wedowee before the boxes were even turned in. They had gone to each voting box location and gotten the numbers that were posted. Jonathan Greg worked with Hearts for Hospital and told the filled room: "We won." Looking to the future he said the power created in this struggle should be harnessed to work on other issues like economic development and other community needs.


"We want to thank all voters for turning out and showing overwhelming support for continued healthcare in Randolph County, not thinking Roanoke-Wedowee anymore--thinking Randolph County," Caypless said.


Caypless said six different corporations have expressed interest in working with them on the financing. They will have to be rated by rating agencies like Standard and Poor's. He is going to talk to all six entities and ask for quotes.


A land survey still has to be done for Tanner to deed the authority the land where Tanner Health System Clinic is now on U.S. Highway 431, outside Wedowee. The hospital will be built nearby.


Once they get the architect plans they can send them to the contractor to see how much they need to borrow.


Circuit clerk/absentee ballot manager Chris May said of the 199 absentee ballots 189 were for the hospital and ten voted against the sales tax.


The last special election had 2,600 voters while 4,787 voted in this election. Probate Judge George Diamond said they had the votes counted an hour and ten minutes after the polls closed, which is a record. There were five provisional votes which will be counted in seven days.


One man said at his polling place more than double the usual voters turned out with almost all voting for the hospital. Many of them were elderly and concerned about the hospital continuing to exist.


Graham voted yes 108 to 7; Morrison Crossroad Fire Department voted 126 yes to 13 no; Corinth voted 99 yes to 17 no; Cavers Grove voted 154 yes to 16 no; Swagg voted 172 yes to 17 no; Woodland Fire Department voted 351 yes to 13 no; Moores Store voted 167 yes to 18 no; Bethel voted 90 yes to 12 no; Wehadkee voted 39 yes to four no; Tin Shop Fire Department voted 264 yes  to 31 no.


Omaha voted 101 yes to two no; Wedowee City Hall voted 878 yes and 33 no; New Hope voted 105 yes to two no; Midway voted 225 yes to 18 no; Ophelia voted 58 yes and 16 no; Wadley voted 137 yes to 32 no; Level Road voted 152 yes to 42 no; National Guard Armory voted 918 yes to 380 no; Rock Mills voted 91 yes to 33 no; Wilson Store voted 64 yes to 8 no; Bacon Level voted yes 86 and 38 no; Wesley Chapel voted 60 yes and 7 no; Pine Hill voted 141 yes and nine no.

ARHA Announces Drive to Establish Student Chapters

      First Community College Chapter of ASRHA Being Established at Northeast

                                Alabama Community College in Rainsville

                                            Additional Details To Follow


Your Alabama Rural Health Association has initiated an aggressive campaign to establish student chapters of the Alabama Student Rural Health Association (ASRHA) on all 54 public and private university, college, and community college campuses in Alabama.  A partnership proposal has been submitted to another Alabama organization to assist in funding this promising program.


Student membership in ASRHA is a bargain at a cost of only $25 per school year.  Included in this membership is annual membership in the campus ASRHA chapter (on campuses with ASRHA chapters), a full annual membership in the Alabama Rural Health Association, and a school year student membership in the National Rural Health Association.  For additional information on student memberships and benefits, select "Join ARHA".


Student members can also seek election as an officer in their campus chapter or seek election to the student position on the ARHA Board of Directors.


Campus ASRHA chapters will have regular meetings during which information of value to students pursuing health related careers will be provided.  A listing of possible program topics and speakers is currently being developed.  Chapters will also conduct health related community projects.  Each campus chapter must have a faculty/staff sponsor to oversee the chapter activities.  


To assist in establishing campus chapters of ASRHA, the following are being sought:

     Students with an interest in helping to establish a chapter at their school.

     Faculty/staff at Alabama schools interested in serving as a campus sponsor.

     Potential speakers on topics of interest to health related program students.


Please contact ARHA to assist with this program or if you have questions or recommendations.


ARHA Developing Plans For Second ICD-10 Coding Boot Camp in August or September

Your Alabama Rural Health Association (ARHA) is finalizing plans to offer a second ICD-10 Coding Boot Camp like the one provided in Montgomery in April.  As of today, it is thought that this training will be held in August or September in a central Alabama location.  The cost of this training will be $199 per person.


Please check back for additional information as this becomes available.


2015 Alabama Rural Health Facts and Figures

Alabama’s rural county residents had a per capita income level that was 21% less than that for our urban residents. (2012 data)


Eight rural counties (Bullock, Coosa, Bibb, Sumter, Wilcox, Winston, DeKalb, and Randolph) are among the 250 U.S. counties with the lowest per capita incomes among all 3,113 counties. Marion County was ranked # 251. (2012 data)


More than one in every five rural residents is eligible for Medicaid.


Nearly one half (47 %) of all rural children are eligible for Medicaid.


14 rural counties have between 10 and 16 percent of all households with no vehicle.


Only two of Alabama’s 54 rural counties (Coffee and Pike) are not entirely or partially classified as primary care shortage areas.  (May 2015)


Alabama’s primary care physician workforce is aging.  The average age of all actively practicing primary care physicians in Alabama today is 51.4 years.  This is a considerable increase from an average age of 50.1 in 2006.


All of Alabama’s 54 rural counties are classified as dental shortage areas for the Medicaid population.  Only Shelby County and a portion of Madison County are not currently classified as dental care shortage areas.  (May 2015)


Alabama currently has three counties (Coosa, Greene, and Lowndes) with no dentists in the entire county.   


All of Alabama’s 54 rural counties are classified as mental health care shortage areas for providing mental health care to the entire or low-income populations.  Only Madison County is not currently classified as mental health care shortage areas.  (July 2013)


In 1980, 45 of Alabama’s 54 rural counties had hospitals performing obstetrics.  Today only 16 of the 54 offer this basic service.  In 1980, 10 of the 12 Black Belt Region counties had hospitals performing obstetrics.  Today only one still offers this service.


12.2 percent of all adult Alabamians have been told that they have diabetes.  This is the 3rd highest percentage among all 50 states. 


Obesity is a major risk factor for numerous serious health conditions.  33 % of all adult Alabamians are currently obese.  This is the 5th highest percentage among all 50 states.  There are 10 rural Alabama counties with between 40 and 49 % of the adult population being obese.


13 rural Alabama counties do not have a dialysis clinic.


The cancer mortality rate for rural Alabama residents is over 16 percent higher than that for urban residents.


The heart disease mortality rate for rural Alabama residents is over 37 percent higher than that for urban residents.


The motor vehicle accident mortality rate for rural Alabama residents is nearly 56 percent higher than that for urban residents and more than double the national rate.


The 25 Alabama counties with the highest current unemployment rates are all rural and four of these have double-digit unemployment.  (March 2015)

ARHA Supported Tax Credit Legislation for Medical, Advanced Practice Nurse, and Physician's Assistant Uncompensated Clerkships Fails to Gain Passage

Senator Gerald Dial sponsored in the Senate (SB402).

Representative Elaine Beech sponsored in the House (HB321).


Plans are to introduce this excellent legislation again in the 2016 legislative session.  Be soliciting sponsors in the House and Senate.


This legislation would provide an income tax credit of $1,000 to a physician who provides, without compensation, at least three clinical rotations annually to students who are in a state medical or osteopathic medical program, a physician assistant program, or a nurse practitioner program.


This would provide an income tax credit of $750 to a physician assistant who provides, without compensation, at least three clinical rotations annually to students who are in a state physician assistant program.


This would also provide an income tax credit of $750 to an advanced practice nurse who provides, without compensation, at least three clinical rotations annually to students who are in a state advanced practice nurse program.


Visit "Legislation" to see the entire legislation.  Encourage other individuals and organizations to join ARHA in supporting this excellent legislation.