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Top news stories from the past 60 days. For more, see news by topic or news by state.

New Numbers Reveal Huge Disparities in Opioid Prescribing
Aug 14, 2017 - Highlights new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on the counties that distributed the highest amounts of opioid painkillers per capita. Also explores the county with the highest rate, a rural county in Virginia, and some of the potential reasons why prescription painkiller use is so high there.
Source: Stateline, Pew Charitable Trusts
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Trump Says Opioid Crisis Is a National Emergency, Pledges More Money and Attention
Aug 10, 2017 - President Trump declared the opioid epidemic a national emergency, shortly after a preliminary report from the President's Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis described the epidemic as "September 11th every three weeks." Also details some of the ways an official declaration could free up resources to help those struggling with opioid addiction. (May require subscription to view full article.)
Source: The Washington Post
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New Behavioral Health Barometers Provide In-Depth Data for All 50 States and DC
Aug 10, 2017 - The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released the fourth edition of its Behavioral Health Barometer state reports. These reports include data on key behavioral health issues and include analyses using several demographic categories including gender, age, income level, health insurance status, and race/ethnicity.
Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
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ERs Can Improve Population Health in Rural Areas
Aug 10, 2017 - Emergency physicians in Michigan have proposed a new healthcare delivery model that aims to reverse the trend of hospital closures and failing health in rural areas. The proposed model would blend the lines between emergency care and primary care, resulting in a sustainable, rural-specific system that addresses rural residents' most pressing needs.
Source: American College of Emergency Physicians
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Substance Use Disorders: A Foundation Sees New Opportunities And Continuing Challenges
Aug 9, 2017 - Throughout Montana, mental illnesses and substance abuse disorders (SUDs) are continual problems. One organization, the Montana Healthcare Foundation (MHCF), is working to improve health outcomes by supporting innovative SUD service delivery models and focusing on targeted grant making. MHCF hopes to strengthen Montana's overall behavioral health provider network, which includes Rural Health Clinics, Federally Qualified Health Centers, and other rural facilities.
Source: Health Affairs Blog
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A Conversation with Michelle Mills
Aug 8, 2017 - Radio interview with Michelle Mills, CEO of the Colorado Rural Health Center, which functions as both the State Office of Rural Health and the Rural Health Association in Colorado. Discussion includes the Colorado Rural Health Center and some of the innovative work it does, among other things.
Source: Rural Health Leadership Radio
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Rural Appalachia Lags the Rest of the Country in Infant Mortality and Life Expectancy
Aug 7, 2017 - Highlights a recent study which found that people who live in rural Appalachia have higher infant mortality rates and lower life expectancy. The study reveals that these health gaps are relatively new and have widened since the early 1990s due to progress made in health outcomes by the rest of the country that were not reflected in rural Appalachia. (May require subscription to view full article.)
Source: The Washington Post
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For Rural Veterans, New Approaches to Health Care
Aug 3, 2017 - Highlights a pilot program that was funded by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) that provided transportation to medical appointments for rural veterans in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas. Also explores factors contributing to the difficultly rural veterans face in accessing medical care.
Source: Stateline, Pew Charitable Trusts
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President, VA Secretary Announce Veteran Telehealth Initiatives Designed to Provide Greater Access, Care
Aug 3, 2017 - President Trump and VA Secretary Dr. David Shulkin announced three new initiatives that will help expand access to care for America's veterans. The initiatives will expand the VA's telehealth capability in three ways: removing location requirements and allowing "anywhere to anywhere VA healthcare," allowing telehealth access on mobiles phones and personal computers via the VA Video Connect service, and improving scheduling through the Veteran Appointment Request (VAR) app. All three initiatives are designed to connect more veterans with VA care by reducing geographic and regulatory barriers.
Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
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Honoring Tradition to Support Tribal Health
Aug 3, 2017 - With fewer than 400 members and a high rate of infant mortality, the future of the Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe was uncertain. Through years of advocacy, bringing in the right experts, and embracing healthy traditions, the tribe was able to come together and improve the overall health of the community. In 2016, the Shoalwater Bay Indian tribe was honored with the Culture of Health Prize.
Source: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
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Millions of Americans Live Nowhere Near a Hospital, Jeopardizing Their Lives
Aug 3, 2017 - While debates over healthcare access and coverage continue, an estimated 30 million Americans already live more than an hour from the nearest available trauma care. Access to care is a continual problem for rural residents, who consequently face higher rates of accidental death. Recent rural hospital closures have exacerbated the problem, causing some in Congress to search for solutions.
Source: CNN
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Participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Highest in Rural Areas and Small Towns, New Data Tool Reveals
Aug 2, 2017 - According to SNAP Maps, a new interactive data tool released by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), people in rural counties and small towns are more likely to participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) than people in more urban areas. This tool includes state-by-state and county-by-county data.
Source: Food Research and Action Center
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CMS Finalizes 2018 Payment and Policy Updates for Medicare Hospital Admissions
Aug 2, 2017 - The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a final rule on the fiscal year 2018 Medicare Inpatient Prospective Payment System and Long-Term Care Hospital Prospective Payment System. This rule updates 2018 Medicare payment and policies when patients are discharged from hospitals. Also announces a notice with comment period updating the 2018 Medicare payment policies and rates for inpatient psychiatric facilities. Includes fact sheets on both the Medicare Inpatient Prospective Payment System and Long-Term Care Hospital Prospective Payment System and the Medicare Inpatient Psychiatric Prospective Payment System.
Source: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
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Broadband & Healthcare - Just What the Doctor Ordered
Aug 2, 2017 - Small towns and rural communities across the U.S. are using broadband and other technologies to improve access to care. Adding new broadband infrastructure or improving existing networks can also help drive economic growth and increase job opportunities. Some towns, such as Loma Linda, California, are leveraging their broadband access to create rural medical hubs.
Source: The Daily Yonder
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Should The Opioid Crisis Be Declared A National Emergency?
Aug 2, 2017 - In a report released this week, a White House commission recommended that President Trump declare the opioid epidemic a national emergency. Proponents say that this would increase resources for drug treatment, but others worry that it could lead to heightened enforcement of drug laws for those struggling with addiction, steering them into the criminal justice system rather than into treatment.
Source: NPR
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Improving Cancer Control in Rural Communities
Aug 1, 2017 - Discusses two new studies - one by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and one by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - that found cancer death rates are higher in rural areas than in urban areas. Additionally, cancer death rates appear to be declining at a slower rate in rural areas. As rural health continues to gather national attention, the NCI will continue to work alongside CDC's rural health initiative, the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP), and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' Rural Health Council to address cancer disparities in rural communities.
Source: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
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CMS Updates Medicare Payment Rates, Quality Reporting Requirements
Aug 1, 2017 - The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued three final rules detailing 2018 Medicare payment rates for skilled nursing facilities, hospice, and inpatient rehabilitation facilities. Includes fact sheets for the FY 2018 Skilled Nursing Facility Prospective Payment System final rule, the FY 2018 Hospice Update, and the FY 2018 Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility Prospective Payment System Final Rule.
Source: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
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A Conversation with Tim Size
Aug 1, 2017 - Radio interview with Tim Size, the Executive Director of the Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative and co-chair of the National Health Association Foundation. Discussion includes rural health in Wisconsin specifically, creating collaborative partnerships in healthcare, and rural health policy, among other things.
Source: Rural Health Leadership Radio
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FDA Announces Comprehensive Regulatory Plan to Shift Trajectory of Tobacco-related Disease, Death
Jul 28, 2017 - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced a new plan for tobacco and nicotine regulation. This multi-year plan aims to reduce tobacco-related disease and death and to better protect children by putting nicotine addiction at the center of the agency's regulation efforts.
Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration
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More People with HIV Have the Virus under Control
Jul 27, 2017 - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released new estimates about HIV based on the most recent national data from 2014. They estimate that 49% of Americans living with HIV have achieved viral suppression, meaning that the virus exists only in very low levels within the body and is significantly less likely to spread to others. Also includes details on the progress that has been made to address HIV as well as the work that still needs to be done, including information on disparities by age, race, sexual orientation, and location.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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Billions in Federal Uncompensated Care Funds to Be Cut Starting in October
Jul 27, 2017 - Details the concern over potential cuts to the some of the financial assistance offered to hospitals by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). These cuts were originally part of the Affordable Care Act, meant to be off-set by the increased patient volume that would result from expanded health insurance coverage, but were delayed when patient traffic did not rise as high as had been expected. CMS has proposed allowing the cuts, citing the fact that the formula used for the cuts aims to provide funding to providers with the greatest need first. (May require subscription to view full article.)
Source: Modern Healthcare
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Rural Minnesota Health System Tackles Opioid Epidemic
Jul 26, 2017 - Highlights the work of a rural Minnesota hospital to implement a care coordination program focused on prescription drug abuse in their community. The care team uses physicians, pharmacists, and social workers to manage prescription drug use and to address other patient concerns like behavioral health needs, homelessness, insurance, and transportation.
Source: Hospitals and Health Networks Magazine
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CMS Proposes 2018 and 2019 Payment Changes for Medicare Home Health Agencies
Jul 25, 2017 - The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed rule that would update payment rates and the wage index for home health agencies (HHAs) serving Medicare beneficiaries in 2018. This rule also proposed a redesign of the payment system in 2019. This proposed rule is part of a larger effort by CMS to relieve regulatory burdens for providers and promote transparency.
Source: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
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A Conversation with Andy Fosmire
Jul 25, 2017 - Radio interview with Andy Fosmire, the Vice President for Rural Health of the Oklahoma Hospital Association. Discussion includes rural hospital closures and the risk in Oklahoma, the work of the Oklahoma Hospital Association especially as it relates to rural hospitals, and a 24-hour outpatient hospital model the Oklahoma Hospital Association is working on presenting to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) with the hospital associations in Kansas and New Mexico, among other things.
Source: Rural Health Leadership Radio
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Solar Eclipses: Planning Resources
Jul 19, 2017 - Details health concerns related to the total solar eclipse that will be visible in a path across the U.S. on August 21, 2017. It is anticipated that millions of people will travel to locations across the country to view it, but because these sites are not yet officially sponsored, resources may be limited, especially in rural locations with less healthcare infrastructure. Includes fact sheets, checklists, locally-developed guidance documents, and new articles related to eye safety, injury treatment, and planned mass gatherings in rural and urban settings to help communities plan for this event.
Source: Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response: Technical Resources, Assistance Center, and Information Exchange
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Health Insurance for Farmers: A Matter of National Security
Jul 19, 2017 - Details the findings of a new study funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that revealed that lack of access to affordable health insurance is one of the biggest concerns of American farmers. According to this study, 73% of farmers said that having insurance was an important or very important means of reducing business risk, 52% were not confident they could pay the costs of a major illness without going into debt or losing their farm, and 64% reported having pre-existing conditions. Also touches on possible policy-based solutions based on the understanding that the stability of the farm sector directly affects the country's food system and, therefore, is a national security concern.
Source: AgDaily
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HRSA Recognizes 10 States with Top Performing Rural Critical Access Hospitals
Jul 19, 2017 - The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is recognizing ten states with the Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) that had the highest reporting rates and levels of improvement over the past year. These states invested funds from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) into quality improvement and technical assistance projects and worked with CAHs and other partners to share best practices and utilize data.
Source: Health Resources and Services Administration
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New CDC Report: More than 100 Million Americans Have Diabetes or Prediabetes
Jul 18, 2017 - According to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 100 million U.S. adults are now living with diabetes or prediabetes. The report also found that rates of diabetes were higher for certain racial minorities and for people living in the South and Appalachia.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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CMS Proposes 2018 Policy and Rate Changes for Hospital Outpatient, Ambulatory Surgical Center Payment Systems
Jul 13, 2017 - The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed a new rule that updates payment rates and policy changes in the Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) and Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC) Payment System. Among other things, this rule would include a change to the payment rate for certain Medicare Part B drugs purchased by hospitals through the 340B program. CMS is requesting comments on how they can best implement this proposal and pass savings on to beneficiaries and providers. The full rule is available in the Federal Register.
Source: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
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Proposed Policies for the Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program Expanded Model in the Calendar Year 2018 Physician Fee Schedule Proposed Rule
Jul 13, 2017 - The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed a rule that would update Medicare payment and policies for doctors and other clinicians who treat Medicare patients in CY 2018. The intention of this rule is to relieve regulatory burdens for providers, support the patient-doctor relationship, and promote transparency, flexibility, and innovation in care delivery. The full rule can be found in the Federal Register.
Source: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
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SAMHSA Report Shows the Usage of Non-medical Pain Relievers Across the Nation
Jul 13, 2017 - The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released a new report, State and Substate Estimates of Nonmedical Use of Prescription Pain Reliever, on the rates of nonmedical use of prescription pain relievers among those aged 12 or older. It found that 4.31% had used prescription pain relievers non-medically in the past year, and that the rates of use varied by state.
Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
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Surgeon General Nominee Fought HIV Outbreak in Rural Indiana
Jul 13, 2017 - Discusses the role of President Donald Trump's nominee for U.S. Surgeon General, Jerome Adams, MD, in the fight against an HIV outbreak in rural Scott County, Indiana. Currently serving as Indiana's State Health Commissioner, Adams has also advocated for a number of interventions to help control the nation's opioid epidemic.
Source: American Medical Association
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New Detailed Statistics on Race, Hispanic Origin, Ancestry and Tribal Groups
Jul 13, 2017 - The United States Census Bureau has released new, detailed statistics of social, economic, housing, and demographic characteristics for hundreds of race, tribal, Hispanic origin and ancestry populations. Includes tables from the 2011-2015 American Community Survey with data at numerous geographic levels, one of which is specific to American Indians and Alaska Natives.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
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SAMHSA Reveals New Reports on the State of Quality Assurance Practices in the Behavioral Health Workforce
Jul 12, 2017 - The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released two new reports on quality assurance practices related to the behavioral health workforce. These reports, Behavioral Health Workforce: Quality Assurance Practices in Substance Abuse Treatment Facilities and Behavioral Health Workforce: Quality Assurance Practices in Mental Health Treatment Facilities, focus on practices like continuing education for staff, case reviews with supervisors, and case review by appointed quality review committees.
Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
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Study Examines Why Primary Care Physicians Leave Rural Areas
Jul 12, 2017 - A new study from the Robert Graham Center for Policy Studies in Family Medicine and Primary Care, Mobility of US Rural Primary Care Physicians During 2000-2014, explores the potential reasons why rural primary care physicians choose to stop practicing in rural areas. Significant factors include age, the availability of nearby health facilities, population size, and physician supply, among other things.
Source: American Academy of Family Physicians
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Microsoft’s New Broadband Strategy Includes a Nod to Telehealth
Jul 11, 2017 - Microsoft has announced a five-year project aimed at connecting more than 23 million Americans in rural areas to broadband internet service using a combination of technologies, including unused television signals on empty channels, to dramatically lower the cost of this endeavor. The Microsoft Rural Broadband Initiative will partner with telecommunications companies to launch 12 programs in 12 states over the next year to begin this project with the hope of empowering businesses and health systems to improve their capabilities in underserved communities.
Source: mHealthIntelligence
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A Conversation with Bill Finerfrock
Jul 11, 2017 - Radio interview with Bill Finerfrock, Executive Director and co-founder of the National Association for Rural Health Clinics (NARHC). Discussion includes rural health clinics, the creation and work of NARHC, physician assistants and nurse practitioners, and access to care, among other things.
Source: Rural Health Leadership Radio
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New Bipartisan Medicare Bill Will Help Elderly, Low-Income, Chronically Ill Patients
Jul 10, 2017 - Blog post from the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means detailing bipartisan legislation to reauthorize Medicare Special Needs Plans (SNPs) before the end of the year. This bill would permanently reauthorize Institutional SNPs (I-SNPs), extend Dual-Eligible SNPs (D-SNPs) and Chronic Condition-SNPs (C-SNPs) for five years, streamline Medicare and Medicaid benefits through one process for dual-eligible beneficiaries, and strengthen access to supplemental benefits for patients with chronic illnesses, among other things.
Source: U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means
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Secretary Price Appoints Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D., as CDC Director and ATSDR Administrator
Jul 7, 2017 - U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price, M.D., announced that Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald had been named as the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the administrator of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). Dr. Fitzgerald has been the commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health and state health officer for the past six years.
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
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Beyond “To Close Or Not To Close” Rural Hospitals
Jul 6, 2017 - Blog post from Health Affairs highlighting a recent report, What's Next? Practical Suggestions for Rural Communities Facing a Hospital Closure, that addresses how rural communities threatened by hospital closures could ensure access to healthcare should their hospital close. The study looks at things like freestanding emergency departments, rural health clinics, telemedicine, and the benefits of a more regional approach to healthcare access.
Source: Health Affairs Blog
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Opioid Prescribing Is Still High and Varies Widely Throughout the U.S.
Jul 6, 2017 - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a new Vital Signs report which found that the number of opioid prescriptions peaked in 2010 and has been decreasing each year through 2015. However, there is still wide variation between counties, with the highest-prescribing counties distributing six times more opioids per resident than the lowest-prescribing counties. Includes map with county-by-county data.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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New CDC Report Shows Deaths from Cancer Higher in Rural America
Jul 6, 2017 - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a new Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) as part of its series of MMWR studies on rural health. This report is the first complete description of cancer incidence and mortality in rural and urban America and includes information on specific cancers as well. The report found that although cancer death rates are decreasing nationwide, those reductions are slower in rural areas.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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Rural Hospitals Struggling, Serving Populations with Many Health Disparities, Report Finds
Jul 5, 2017 - Discusses a new study that found that the health challenges of rural people make it more difficult for rural hospitals to operate in the black. Includes information on rural hospital closures and obstacles faced by rural hospitals, including poorer health among rural people, the opioid epidemic, a higher prevalence of veterans and elderly people in rural areas, and concerns about payment models.
Source: Healthcare Finance
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Twin Plagues: Meth Rises in Shadow of Opioids
Jul 2, 2017 - Details the resurgence of methamphetamine use in the U.S., and the complications related to awareness and treatment with much of the present focus being on the opioid epidemic. Uses Wisconsin, especially rural areas of the state, as a window into the larger trends of the country as a whole.
Source: NBC News
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NPR Continues To Find Hundreds Of Cases Of Advanced Black Lung
Jul 1, 2017 - Details growing evidence that the prevalence of Black Lung disease, especially in its most advanced stage, is much higher than had been believed. Also discusses the efforts by multiple organizations and government entities to collect data and get a more accurate picture of the extent of this disease.
Source: NPR
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Trump Nominates Indiana Health Commissioner to Be U.S. Surgeon General
Jun 30, 2017 - President Trump nominated Dr. Jerome Adams to serve as the U.S. Surgeon General. Adams has been the health commissioner of Indiana since 2014 and currently serves as assistant professor of clinical anesthesia at Indiana University School of Medicine. He is best known for his writing and public comments related to the opioid epidemic. If confirmed by the Senate, Adams would serve a four-year term. (May require subscription to view full article.)
Source: Modern Healthcare
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CMS: Medicare Program; CY 2018 Updates to the Quality Payment Program Federal Register
Jun 30, 2017 - Proposed rule from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) which, among other things, would expand Quality Payment Program (QPP) exemptions and implement virtual group provisions for small and rural providers. The proposed rule would also ease electronic health record (EHR) requirements for certain providers as they transition from 2014 certified EHRs to 2015 certified EHRs. Comments regarding provisions of the proposed rule must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. Eastern on August 21, 2017. Additional information is available on the CMS proposed rule fact sheet.
Source: Federal Register
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America’s Failed Response to the Opioid Epidemic, in One Statistic
Jun 29, 2017 - Details results related to opioid use and opioid use disorder from a new report by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association analyzing millions of its customers. Focuses primarily on the fact that opioid use disorder diagnoses have increased at a rate eight times higher than the increase in people using medication-assisted treatment and the access-related concerns that contribute to that disparity.
Source: Vox
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Protecting Our Infants Act: Final Strategy Now Available
Jun 28, 2017 - Blog post from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) on the increased rates of pregnant women with opioid use disorder (OUD) and infants born with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) work to address these increases. Includes HHS' Behavioral Health Coordinating Council Subcommittee on Prescription Drug Abuse's Report to Congress and Final Strategy.
Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Blog
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USDA Announces Summer EBT Grants; Includes New States, Rural Communities
Jun 28, 2017 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced $31.5 million in Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer for Children (Summer EBT) Grants would be awarded to eleven states and tribal nations including Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, Tennessee, Virginia and the Chickasaw and Cherokee nations. These grants support projects that work to alleviate hunger among low-income children during the summer.
Source: United States Department of Agriculture
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A Conversation with Ruth "Raz" Cook
Jun 27, 2017 - Radio interview with Ruth "Raz" Cook, a hospital administrator at East Texas Medical Center Trinity and East Texas Medical Center Jacksonville. Discussion includes recruitment of healthcare providers, healthcare facility management, and rural hospital closures, among other things.
Source: Rural Health Leadership Radio
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Patients With Mental Disorders Get Half Of All Opioid Prescriptions
Jun 26, 2017 - According to a new study, more than 50% of the 115 million annual opioid prescriptions in the U.S. go to adults with a mental illness, despite the fact that people with mental health disorders account for only 16% of the the population. There is concern that although opioids are prescribed for physical pain, they may temporarily alleviate mental health concerns as well, leading to long-term use and the risk of dependency among an already vulnerable population.
Source: Kaiser Health News
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HHS Announces the Availability of $195 Million to Expand Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services at Health Centers Nationwide
Jun 26, 2017 - The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a new funding opportunity for community health centers to expand access to mental health and substance abuse services. $195 million is available in funding to help health centers increase the number of personnel dedicated to mental health and substance abuse services and to use health information technology and training to support the expansion and integration of mental health and substance abuse services into primary care. Additionally, the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) is making $3 million available to expand opioid-related healthcare services in rural communities.
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
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HRSA: Lists of Designated Primary Medical Care, Mental Health, and Dental Health Professional Shortage Areas Federal Register
Jun 26, 2017 - Notice from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) announcing the availability of the complete lists of all geographic areas, population groups, and facilities designated as primary care, mental health, and/or dental care Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs). Lists are available on HRSA's HPSA Find website, and are current as of May 1, 2017.
Source: Federal Register
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IHS and Boys & Girls Clubs Partner to Expand Services to Native Youth
Jun 22, 2017 - Blog post from the Indian Health Service (IHS) about their collaboration with Boys and Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) Native Services. Together, they aim to discourage risky behaviors among American Indian and Alaska Native youth using early intervention strategies with a particular focus on methamphetamine use and suicide.
Source: Indian Health Service Blog
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SAMHSA Announces $44.6 Million in Grants to Expand the Behavioral Healthcare Workforce
Jun 21, 2017 - The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) announced funding of up to $44.6 million to develop the healthcare workforce to treat substance use disorders and support recovery. Grantees for the Addiction Technology Transfer Centers Cooperative Agreements will establish a network to collaborate with SAMHSA and with each other to improve treatment and recovery nationwide.
Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
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Telepharmacy Reduces Rural Care Disparities for Diabetics
Jun 20, 2017 - A new study has found that the use of a telepharmacy team of pharmacists, dieticians, and primacy care providers had similar rates of improvement in patient glycemic control as patients who were seen in person. 92% of the patients involved said that they were "very satisfied" with the care they received and 83% said that it had been easier to get care.
Source: mHealthIntelligence
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SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP) Highlights the New Learning Center
Jun 20, 2017 - The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has launched a Learning Center for the National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP) website. This Learning Center provides tools and resources to help behavioral health practitioners build effective, evidence-based or culture-based programs and explore emerging practices and programs.
Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
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CMS Proposes Quality Payment Program Updates to Increase Flexibility and Reduce Burdens
Jun 20, 2017 - The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed a rule that would make changes in the second year of the Quality Payment Program, updated annually as a part of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA). These changes, aimed at ensuring fiscal sustainability and simplifying the program for small, independent, and rural practices, encourage participation in either the Advanced Alternative Payment Models (APMs) or the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), among other things.
Source: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
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New AHRQ Report Shows Sharp Rise Among Women for Opioid-Related Hospital Stays
Jun 20, 2017 - The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) released a report on the most current national rates on opioid-related hospitalizations and emergency department visits by state. Opioid-related hospitalizations increased 55% for men and 75% for women from 2005 to 2014.
Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
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Why Living in a Rural Area Could Be Considered a Health Risk
Jun 19, 2017 - Discusses rural health disparities including issues related to access like health insurance, workforce concerns, and rural hospital closures and closing maternity wards. Also discusses higher mortality rates and poorer health in rural areas and specific areas of the country where rural health disparities are common.
Source: Vital Record
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