Rural Health
Top Stories

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

New Survey Shows Nearly All U.S. Hospitals Using Certified Health IT to Manage Patient Care
May 31, 2016 - Data briefs from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology and survey data from the American Hospital Association show an increase in adoption of certified electronic health records (EHRs) for small, rural, and Critical Access Hospitals and an increase in the percentage of hospitals sending, receiving, and finding key clinical information.
Source: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
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Wise Women Gaining Ground Fighting Breast Cancer in Southwest Georgia
May 29, 2016 - The Wise Women Rural Breast Cancer Outreach Education and Screening Program, created last year by the Cancer Coalition of South Georgia, provides services for low-income, uninsured women ages 40-64.
Source: Albany Herald
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Suicide Prevention Efforts Are Placing an Emphasis on Small Texas Towns
May 29, 2016 - High rates of suicide in rural areas highlight the challenges in providing mental health care. This article profiles the LOSS team started by Denton County, Texas, to connect survivors of victims of suicide with resources to help them recover.
Source: Texas Tribune
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Gov. Tom Wolf, Senate Democrats Forging Different Plans for Fighting Opioid Abuse
May 27, 2016 - Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf is reviewing a proposal to tax prescription opioid drugs and commit $35 million more in state funding for drug treatment. Wolf has already proposed spending $34 million on "health homes" where more than 11,000 previously untreated people would receive care for substance abuse.
Source: Readingeagle.com
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DME Suppliers Support Legislative Delay to Medicare Competitive Bidding
May 26, 2016 - Associations representing durable medical equipment (DME) suppliers have asked Congress to support delaying implementation of federally mandated competitive bidding processes and expected Medicare reimbursement cuts to suppliers serving rural and sparsely populated areas.
Source: MedCity News
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What Explains the Recent Rise in Rural Child Poverty?
May 26, 2016 - Blog entry examining rising income inequality in rural areas over the past decade and the corresponding rise in child poverty.
Source: USDA Blog
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Virtual Help at Hospital Can Be Brain-saver for Stroke Victims
May 26, 2016 - Loyola University neurologists have begun using a stroke robot to visually examine patients through a two-way video and audio link. This allows for rapid response and diagnosis time, and may be especially useful in rural areas lacking medical specialists.
Source: QC Online
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Caring for Our Nation’s Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Older Americans
May 25, 2016 - During May, the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Minority Health will highlight initiatives underway to help Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities achieve optimal health.
Source: U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health
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New NIH-EPA Research Centers to Study Environmental Health Disparities
May 25, 2016 - The National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will fund five centers to improve health in communities burdened by environmental factors that contribute to health disparities. They will examine health stressors such as air, water, and ground pollution and substandard housing, poor diet, and adverse social dynamics.
Source: EurekAlert!
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Bringing People Together: Rural is 'Different,' Not 'Less'
May 25, 2016 - Interview with Justin Maxson, executive director of the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation in North Carolina, who says urban-based philanthropies need rural constituencies to make a difference at the national level.
Source: Daily Yonder
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Rural America’s Population Evolves
May 24, 2016 - Migration and natural change are creating shifts in rural demographics. Young people are leaving rural communities, and some rural areas are either retirement destinations or have recreation-based economies. Increased access to the internet has potential to make rural areas more attractive, especially to young people.
Source: Banking Exchange
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Ways and Means Advances Bipartisan Medicare Reforms to Improve Hospitals, Better Serve Patients
May 24, 2016 - The House Ways and Means Committee voted to pass the Helping Hospitals Improve Patient Care Act, bipartisan legislation that will help medical providers better treat patients in their communities.
Source: Committee on Ways and Means, U.S. House of Representatives
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For Substance Abusers, Recovery-Oriented Care May Show The Way To A Productive Life
May 24, 2016 - Recovery advocates in the largely rural counties of western North Carolina believe that community-based supports are needed to help people with mental health and substance abuse issues reintegrate into their communities. They fear that an omnibus mental health bill sponsored in Congress may limit funding for prevention.
Source: Kaiser Health News
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South Dakota Indian Hospital Threatened with Funds Cutoff
May 24, 2016 - The Indian Health Service has until June 15 to correct deficiencies at Rapid City's Sioux San Hospital to avoid losing its ability to bill the government for services provided to Medicare- and Medicaid-eligible patients.
Source: Associated Press
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USDA Awards $4.5 Million in Rural Community Development Grants; Seeks Applications for Future Projects
May 23, 2016 - The USDA will award grants to 23 public or non-profit intermediary organizations that are locally-based and skilled in business development and job creation. Applications are currently being accepted for the next round of program funding.
Source: United States Dept. of Agriculture
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Congress Considers Broader Hospital Site-Neutral Payment Exceptions and Other Payments Changes
May 23, 2016 - Describes the Helping Hospitals Improve Patient Care Act of 2016, which would provide relief for hospitals affected by 2015 legislation limiting Medicare payments in new outpatient facilities not on a hospital's campus beginning in 2017. The legislation passed through the House Ways and Means Committee on May 24, 2016.
Source: JD Supra Business Advisor
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Ways and Means to Markup Commonsense Proposals to Advance Hospital Reforms and Improve TANF
May 20, 2016 - On May 24 at 2:00 pm ET the Committee will consider the Helping Hospitals Improve Patient Care Act of 2016, the Improving Employment Outcomes of TANF Recipients Act, and the What Works to Move Welfare Recipients Into Jobs Act.
Source: Committee on Ways and Means, U.S. House of Representatives
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New Medicare Bill Advances Commonsense, Fiscally Responsible Hospital Reforms
May 20, 2016 - The recently introduced, bipartisan Helping Hospitals Improve Patient Care Act is designed to help medical providers better treat patients, by promoting greater access, increasing choices, and improving quality of healthcare.
Source: Committee on Ways and Means, U.S. House of Representatives
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Opioid Prescriptions Drop for First Time in Two Decades
May 20, 2016 - The number of opioid prescriptions written in the United States has declined 12-18 percent from its 2012 peak, the first sustained decrease since OxyContin became available in 1996.
Source: New York Times
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Flexible Work Hours, Clear Boundaries Key to Work-Life Balance for Rural Women Physicians
May 20, 2016 - Data published in the Annals of Family Medicine indicate that female physicians in rural practice will be more satisfied and successful if they have flexible or reduced hours and choose communities that offer personal and professional support.
Source: Healio
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Rural, Low-Income Moms Rely on Nature Activities for Family Health But Don't Always Have Access
May 20, 2016 - Researchers at the University of Illinois found that participation in outdoor activities can promote health and well-being. However, some rural, low-income families lack access to publicly available outdoor recreation resources.
Source: Science Daily
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Woman Fights for Mental Health Care in Rural Arizona
May 20, 2016 - Sheri George, founder of the San Tan Valley Substance Abuse Coalition, fights to get her neighbors the help they need by bringing mental health care services to rural Arizona. (Video length: 8:52)
Source: Arizona Public Media
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Bill Targets Socio-Economic Factors in Hospital Readmissions
May 20, 2016 - Bipartisan legislation would adjust Medicare's readmissions program to consider socio-economic status of patients, and would allow off-campus hospital outpatient departments under construction to receive higher rates than similar facilities not owned by hospitals. (Full article may require free registration.)
Source: Modern Healthcare
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Barrasso and Thune Introduce Bill to Reform the Indian Health Service
May 19, 2016 - The Indian Health Service Accountability Act of 2016 was introduced in an effort to address quality and safety concerns in care provided at Indian Health Service (IHS) facilities and to improve transparency and accountability at IHS.
Source: United States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs
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Webinar: CMS HITECH State Matching Funds for HIE and Interoperability
May 19, 2016 - The Federal Office of Rural Health Policy will host a webinar on May 25, 2016 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern to inform grantees and providers in rural and underserved areas of the availability of Medicaid state matching funds for Health Information Exchange and other interoperability systems to help demonstrate meaningful use.
Source: Federal Office of Rural Health Policy
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U.S. Surgeon General Meets With Area Tribes (with video)
May 19, 2016 - Surgeon General Vivek Murthy stopped in Shawnee, Oklahoma during his National Prevention Strategy tour, and met with Oklahoma Tribes participating in the Strategic Prevention Framework - Tribal Incentive Grant Program. The visit focused on efforts to combat the current opioid addiction epidemic.
Source: Shawnee News-Star
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New Bill Aims to Help Rape Victims Rebuffed at Hospitals
May 18, 2016 - The Survivors' Access to Supportive Care Act aims to improve rape victims' access to qualified examiners and would appropriate $12 million to support a pilot grant program to expand training and state-level surveys to evaluate needs.
Source: Q13 Fox
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Traveling Orthopedic Surgeons Improve Rural Care
May 18, 2016 - Orthopedic patients in rural areas often have limited access to care, due to a lack of local practitioners. However, a recent study shows that visiting consultant clinics staffed by visiting orthopedic surgeons can improve patient outcomes.
Source: Iowa Now
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Telemedicine's Explosive Growth Rate Belies its Penetration
May 18, 2016 - Opinion piece examining telemedicine's potential for improving access to healthcare, lowering costs, and enhancing population health, and the barriers to telemedicine expansion.
Source: Media HealthLeaders
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Rural US to Become “Insurance Desert,” 650 Counties to Have One Insurer on Exchanges
May 17, 2016 - Insurer withdrawals from the Affordable Care Act exchanges are mainly affecting rural areas. In 2017, people from Alaska and Alabama will have only one choice, as well as those from large portions of Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arizona, and Oklahoma.
Source: Insurance Business America
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Rural Hospitals Often Safer, Cheaper for Common Surgeries: Study
May 17, 2016 - Discusses a study from the University of Michigan that compared surgery outcomes from rural hospitals with those from larger urban hospitals.
Source: HealthDay News
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Heroin Epidemic Having Impact in Rural Pennsylvania
May 16, 2016 - Looks at the rising levels of heroin use in rural Pennsylvania and the lack of treatment options for those individuals of lesser means.
Source: Centre Daily Times
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Fix For VA Health Snarls Veterans And Doctors In New Bureaucracy
May 16, 2016 - Reports on the delays and frustration of veterans and healthcare providers with the Veterans Choice Plan, which was intended to improve access for rural veterans.
Source: Kaiser Health News
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VA, Mayo Ramp up Telemedicine to Increase Patient Access, Satisfaction
May 16, 2016 - Discusses efforts to increase telemedicine access for veterans, many of whom live in rural areas far from VA facilities.
Source: MedCity News
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Income Inequality: A Growing Threat to Eliminating Rural Child Poverty
May 16, 2016 - A new USDA Economic Research Service report shows that while there are overall improvements in the rate of rural child poverty, the issue of income inequality, a contributing factor, is growing and needs to be addressed.
Source: USDA Blog
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Solving Rural South Carolina’s Oral Health Crisis
May 16, 2016 - Discusses the new MORE Care program developed in South Carolina that empowers primary care providers to be more involved in the oral health of their patients.
Source: The Post and Courier
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Rural Children at Risk for Worse Health Outcomes, Higher Health Care Costs
May 12, 2016 - A study by researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham shows that children in rural areas have high rates of medical complexity and often reside in low-income and medically underserved areas.
Source: Newswise
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iVantage Names Top 100 Critical Access, Rural and Community Hospitals
May 10, 2016 - On May 9 iVantage released the names of its Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals and the Top 100 Rural & Community Hospitals in the U.S., based on criteria including quality and outcomes, patient and safety satisfaction, and costs and charges measures.
Source: Becker's Hospital Review
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Long-Distance Caregiving: Rough Road for Rural Families
May 10, 2016 - Describes the challenges of being a long-distance caregiver of the elderly in rural America.
Source: The Daily Yonder
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Many Rural Areas Are Not Prepared for Possible Regional Arrival of Zika Virus
May 9, 2016 - Reports on the vulnerability of the Gulf Coast states to the Zika virus, with many rural and poor communities in the region ill-prepared to prevent the spread of the virus.
Source: KyForward.com
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CMS: Medicare Program; Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and Alternative Payment Model (APM) Incentive Under the Physician Fee Schedule, and Criteria for Physician-Focused Payment Models Federal Register
May 9, 2016 - Proposed rule to establish the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), a new program for certain Medicare-enrolled practitioners. MIPS would consolidate components of three existing programs. The proposed rule also would establish incentives for participation in certain alternative payment models (APMs), supporting the goals of moving more fee-for-service payments into APMs that focus on better care, smarter spending, and healthier people. The deadline for comments is June 27.
Source: Federal Register
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Telemedicine Brings Doctors to Indian Health Hospitals with Recruitment Challenges
May 8, 2016 - Reports on an Indian Health Service facility on the Northern Cheyenne reservation that uses telehealth to provide specialty care. The approach will be expanded to other Montana and Wyoming health centers in Montana and Wyoming this summer.
Source: Billings Gazette
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CMS: Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Programs; Medicaid Managed Care, CHIP Delivered in Managed Care, and Revisions Related to Third Party Liability Federal Register
May 6, 2016 - This final rule updates the Medicaid managed care regulations to reflect changes in the usage of managed care delivery systems, aligns Medicaid managed care rules with those of other sources of coverage, strengthens payment provisions to promote accountability, and promotes quality of care.
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IHS Seeks Proposals to Expand Telehealth Services in Great Plains
May 5, 2016 - The Indian Health Service has issued a Request for Proposal to provide telehealth services at 19 health centers and facilities in Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota.
Source: Indian Health Service
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Twenty-First Century Medicaid: The Final Managed Care Rule
May 5, 2016 - Overview of what the Medicaid final managed care rule seeks to accomplish and how it tries to position healthcare delivery under a regulatory system covering 70 million people.
Source: Health Affairs Blog
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County Veterans Urge VA Official to Save Popular Health Care Program
May 5, 2016 - The VA's Under Secretary for Health and members of Maine's congressional delegation recently heard from veterans in rural Maine how the Access Received Closer to Home (ARCH) program has made it easier for them to receive care. Describes proposed legislation to keep the program, which is set to expire in August, running throughout the United States.
Source: Bangor Daily News
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Confronting Dental Decay In Indian Country
May 5, 2016 - 3-part series discusses oral health issues of the Swinomish Tribe in Washington resulting from years of limited access to dentists and reluctance to seek out care because of previous trauma. Tribal leaders recently hired a dental health aide therapist, the first of its kind in the lower 48 states, to help address the issues.
Source: KPLU News
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Chairman Tiberi Announces Health Subcommittee Hearing on MACRA Implementation
May 4, 2016 - The House Ways and Means Committee Health Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the implementation of the Medicare Access & CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) on May 11, 2016 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern. CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt will provide testimony. Public submissions can be made on the Committee website.
Source: House Ways and Means Committee
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MACRA: Did Rural Health Make the Cut without Getting Cut?
May 4, 2016 - Provides highlights and details of the Medicare Access & CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), including some considerations for rural providers.
Source: RAC Monitor
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Congresswoman Jenkins Introduces Bill to Protect Access to Healthcare in Rural Kansas
May 4, 2016 - Describes the introduction of the Rural Hospital Regulatory Relief Act of 2016, which would prohibit the the enforcement of direct physician supervision regulations for outpatient therapeutic services at Critical Access Hospitals and other small rural hospitals.
Source: Office of Representative Lynn Jenkins
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Obama Official Willing to Change Controversial Medicare Proposal
May 4, 2016 - Dr. Patrick Conway, Acting Principal Deputy Administrator for the Centers for Medicare Medicaid Services, says that CMS is listening to concerns about the proposed changes to the way Medicare Part B pays for prescription drugs. Two specific areas CMS will be examining include making sure the proposal applies only to a smaller geographic area and ensuring that there is no harmful effect on rural and small providers.
Source: The Hill
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Against the Grain: Expanding Rural Health Care in a Climate of Closure
May 4, 2016 - Highlights successes of healthcare facilities in New Hampshire and Hawaii, where New Market Tax Credits are being used by facilities to fund construction for growth of health services that are making a difference in the quality of health and life in rural areas.
Source: Triple Pundit
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Opinion: Combating Rural Opioid Abuse Requires Cooperation at All Levels
May 4, 2016 - Opinion piece by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, discussing implications of opioid abuse in rural America and efforts to address the problem on the federal, state, and local levels.
Source: Berks Country Reading Eagle
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Internists Say GME Funding Undermines Primary Care
May 4, 2016 - Describes a position paper detailing drawbacks to the current system for funding graduate medical education, stating that it does not work for a modern workforce, and recommending several immediate changes.
Source: Medscape Medical News
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Dr. Dean Goes to Washington
May 4, 2016 - Details testimony from Saratoga physician Dean Bartholomew on challenges faced by rural healthcare providers, in a panel discussion among members of the Senate Rural Health Caucus, the National Quality Forum, rural healthcare providers, and academic experts on healthcare policy.
Source: Saratoga Sun
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CMS: Medicare and Medicaid Programs; Fire Safety Requirements for Certain Health Care Facilities; Final Rule Federal Register
May 4, 2016 - CMS final rule amending the fire safety standards for healthcare facilities participating in Medicare and Medicaid programs, including a section on requirements for Critical Access Hospitals. Also provides notice of the adoption of the 2012 edition of the Life Safety Code and Health Care Facilities Code, with some exceptions noted.
Source: Federal Register
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How MACRA, MIPS Will Impact Critical Access Hospitals, FQHCs
May 3, 2016 - Discusses the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) and the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), and the ways in which they will affect various healthcare facilities in rural and underserved areas.
Source: RevCycle Intelligence
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Acting Administrator Slavitt Speech at the American Hospital Association’s Annual Membership Meeting
May 3, 2016 - Remarks from CMS administrator Andy Slavitt, including announcement of a Rural Health Task Force to address short- and long-term planning related to innovation and economics of healthcare in rural America.
Source: CMS Blog
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Social Service Shortfalls Hinder Health, Boost Medical Spending
May 3, 2016 - Describes a study showing that states with highest ratios of spending for social services and public health programs relative to Medicare and Medicaid spending for physical health have healthier residents.
Source: USA Today
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AHRQ Report Shows Gains in Access to and Affordability of Health Insurance
May 3, 2016 - Describes report featuring annual trends on more than 250 measures of care quality, access, and disparities covering a broad array of healthcare services and settings.
Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
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CMS Finalizes its Quality Measure Development Plan
May 2, 2016 - Announces the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid's final Quality Measure Development Plan, a strategic framework to support the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and advanced alternative payment models (APMs), along with select comments and suggestions on the draft plan.
Source: CMS Blog
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Two Reservation Hospitals Agree to Quality-of-Care Changes
May 2, 2016 - Indian Health Services hospitals on the Pine Ridge and Rosebud Indian Reservations in South Dakota will continue receiving federal funding after agreeing to improve quality of care for patients. A local team and monitor from CMS will ensure the improvements are made, with emergency rooms being privatized at both locations.
Source: Associated Press
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FAQ: Medicare Lays Out Plans For Changing Doctors’ Pay
May 2, 2016 - Describes two proposed Medicare physician payment systems, the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and Advanced Alternative Payment Models (APMs) that will transition to a focus on quality, value, and accountability. MIPS will evaluate value and quality of care using four performance categories, including cost, quality, and how doctors use and share electronic health records, to determine Medicare Part B payment adjustment. Advanced APMs will allow doctors to set payments and centers on coordinated, high-quality care including models such as centralized medical homes and newer accountable care organization models.
Source: Kaiser Health News
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Rep. Hardy Introduces Bill to Save Rural Hospitals
May 2, 2016 - Announcement of the Rural Hospital Enhancement and Long Term Health Act (Rural HEALTH Act), which will support rural hospitals through the reauthorization of the the State Offices of Rural Health (SORH) program and incentivize construction for new, or update existing, hospitals in rural areas.
Source: Office of U.S. Congressman Cresent Hardy
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New Medicaid Rules Could Ease Rural Health Care's Problems
May 2, 2016 - Describes release of new rules for managed care plans under Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which may help states address shortages of doctors in rural areas.
Source: Governing.com
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NRHA Announces 2016 Rural Health Award Recipients
May 2, 2016 - Announcement of the National Rural Health Association annual awards for rural health including outstanding programs, practitioners, organizations, students, and volunteers. Recipients will be honored at the NRHA Annual Rural Health Conference on May 12, 2016 in Minneapolis.
Source: National Rural Health Association
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GAO: Health Care Access Hard to Measure for Native Americans
Apr 28, 2016 - Describes a recent report from the Government Accountability Office that finds healthcare access measurement issues within Indian Health Services due to poor tracking policies in place. Highlights inadequate services at some facilities that have resulted in long wait times and lower quality of care provided.
Source: ABC News
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CMS: Medicare Program; FY 2017 Hospice Wage Index and Payment Rate Update and Hospice Quality Reporting Requirements Federal Register
Apr 28, 2016 - The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have released a proposed rule updating the hospice wage index, payment rates, and cap amount for FY 2017. Furthermore, the proposal makes changes to hospice quality measures and reporting.
Source: Federal Register
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Getting Enough Food is Still a Problem for Many Americans
Apr 28, 2016 - Describes a new report that found food security to be a persistent problem across the country, especially in rural areas.
Source: Marketplace
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New Report on Rural Telemedicine: 15 Million Kids in Health Care Deserts
Apr 27, 2016 - Describes a recent Children's Health Fund report that highlights the role of telehealth services in addressing healthcare access challenges faced by children in healthcare deserts, many of which exist in rural areas.
Source: School-Based Health Alliance
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CMS: Medicare Program; Hospital Inpatient Prospective Payment Systems for Acute Care Hospitals and the Long-Term Care Hospital Prospective Payment System and Proposed Policy Changes and Fiscal Year 2017 Rates; Quality Reporting Requirements for Specific Providers; Graduate Medical Education; Hospital Notification Procedures Applicable to Beneficiaries Receiving Observation Services; and Technical Changes Relating to Costs to Organizations and Medicare Cost Reports Federal Register
Apr 27, 2016 - The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) proposes an update to the Medicare hospital inpatient prospective payment systems for acute care hospitals for FY 2017. Included in this update are changes to direct graduate medical education and indirect medical education payments to hospitals with rural training track programs.
Source: Federal Register
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Governor Approves New Tax Credit for Rural Hospital Donors
Apr 26, 2016 - Reports that Governor Deal of Georgia has signed into state law a new tax credit for those who give to rural hospitals within the state in an effort to help address rural hospital closures.
Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
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As Medical Programs Strive to Crank out Rural Physicians, the Shortage Grows
Apr 26, 2016 - Highlights persistent primary care workforce shortages in rural areas of the United States with a focus on the impact of them on rural Missouri. Describes programs that are addressing the workforce shortage in rural Missouri by exposing prospective members of the healthcare workforce to rural practice.
Source: The Columbia Missourian
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CMS: Medicare Program; Prospective Payment System and Consolidated Billing for Skilled Nursing Facilities Proposed Rule for FY 2017, SNF Value-Based Purchasing Program, SNF Quality Reporting Program, and SNF Payment Models Research Federal Register
Apr 25, 2016 - The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has released a proposed rule that will update payment rates under the prospective payment system for skilled nursing facilities for FY 2017. Also includes updates to quality measures and reporting.
Source: Federal Register
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CMS: Medicare Program; Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility Prospective Payment System for Federal Fiscal Year 2017 Federal Register
Apr 25, 2016 - The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has released a proposed rule updating the prospective payment rates for inpatient rehabilitation facilities for FY 2017. The proposal also includes an update to quality measures and reporting requirements.
Source: Federal Register
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UnitedHealth's Pullback from Exchange Business Could Hit Rural Counties
Apr 23, 2016 - Describes a recent Kaiser Family Foundation study that measured the rural impact of UnitedHealth's discontinuation in offering health insurance plans through the federal marketplace.
Source: The Star Tribune
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Senators Introduce Legislation to Aid Rural Hospitals
Apr 22, 2016 - Describes the introduction of a bipartisan bill into the Senate that aims to increase Medicare payments to rural hospitals and those in low-wage areas by adjusting the current formula of payment.
Source: Valdosta Today
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As Funding Ends, Regional Extension Centers Adjust Business Models
Apr 22, 2016 - Discusses the future of the Regional Extension Centers (RECs), which are part of a program that runs through the end of 2016. RECs assist healthcare providers, including many in rural and underserved settings, with EHR adoption. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT estimates 90% of the 62 current RECs will continue to operate nationwide.
Source: Health Data Management
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Speak Your Piece: Health-Care Innovation, Not Intervention
Apr 21, 2016 - Allen Smart, interim president and vice president of programs at the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, discusses the benefits of local, grassroots solutions to improve rural health.
Source: Daily Yonder
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How One Physician Sustains Care for the Poor
Apr 21, 2016 - Describes how Dr. Jasmine Sulaiman and her team have developed a string of health clinics serving a 3-county area of rural Texas, improving access in a region of deep poverty.
Source: Hospitals & Health Networks
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Medicare Program; Temporary Exception for Certain Severe Wound Discharges From Certain Long-Term Care Hospitals Required by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016; Modification of Limitations on Redesignation by the Medicare Geographic Classification Review Board Federal Register
Apr 21, 2016 - Interim final rule with comment period implements section 231 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016, related to wound care discharges and the Long-Term Care Hospital Prospective Payment System. Also amends current regulations to allow hospitals to reclassify based on their acquired rural status, effective with reclassifications beginning with fiscal year 2018. Comments should be submitted by June 17.
Source: Federal Register
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In the Navajo Nation, a Focus on Health Data
Apr 20, 2016 - Highlights two Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute funded projects that focus on diabetes among people living in the Navajo Nation, with insights on the collaborative research process and how data sets help the communities involved.
Source: Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute
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In IPPS Rule, CMS Proposes Changes for Urban Teaching Hospitals with Rural Training Track Programs
Apr 20, 2016 - CMS proposes to revise regulations for urban teaching hospitals related to rural training track (RTT) programs, increasing the time urban hospitals are allowed to establish RTT direct and indirect graduate medical education caps.
Source: J.D. Supra Business Advisor
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Rural Children Face Steep Healthcare Challenges
Apr 20, 2016 - Reports results from a study published in the journal Pediatrics that found poorer outcomes for rural children at pediatric hospitals compared to non-rural children. Researchers found differences in length of hospital stays and readmissions rates for rural children.
Source: HealthLeaders Media
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Medicare Delays Plans For New Star Ratings On Hospitals After Congressional Pressure
Apr 20, 2016 - The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will delay releasing a new overall hospital quality rating measure until at least July.
Source: Kaiser Health News
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Legislation Introduced to Expand Rural Hospice Care
Apr 20, 2016 - Describes recently introduced, bipartisan legislation to the United States Senate that aims to improve access to hospice care in rural communities across the country.
Source: The Montegomery Herald
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You Have to Drive an Hour for a Rape Kit in Rural America
Apr 19, 2016 - Reports on a recent Government Accountability Office report that finds a shortage of medical examiners to address the needs of rape victims in rural areas.
Source: The Washington Post
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Ahead of Earth Day, USDA Announces Clean Water and Environmental Projects for 60 Rural Communities
Apr 19, 2016 - Announces funding for 60 projects supporting improvement of rural water quality and safety in rural communities across the country.
Source: United States Department of Agriculture
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Federal, State Officials Discuss Barriers to Opioid Addiction Treatment
Apr 18, 2016 - Reports on a discussion during a meeting of the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services concerning access to opioid addiction treatment in rural areas in South Carolina and across the nation.
Source: The Post and Courier
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CMS Drops Two-Midnight Rule's Inpatient Payment Cuts
Apr 18, 2016 - Announces the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' intention to drop a 0.2% reduction in inpatient payments to hospitals under the two-midnight rule starting in 2017. (Full article may require free registration)
Source: Modern Healthcare
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Mental Health Crisis Intervention Training Teams Form in SW Virginia; Hailed as Rural Model
Apr 18, 2016 - Provides an overview of a mental health crisis intervention strategy employed in Virginia that encourages cooperation between rural law enforcement and behavioral health professionals to help prevent inappropriate incarceration of those suffering from mental illness.
Source: National Association of Counties
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The ‘Vicious Cycle’ Of Rural Drug Addiction
Apr 18, 2016 - Describes higher rates of addiction to and death from illicit drug abuse among rural residents when compared with urban residents. Highlights the burden of care this puts on rural hospitals across the country.
Source: ThinkProgress
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VA: Veterans Rural Health Advisory Committee Meeting Federal Register
Apr 18, 2016 - The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) gives notice that the Veterans Rural Health Advisory Committee will hold a public meeting on May 3-4, 2016. The purpose of the Committee is to advise the Secretary of Veterans Affairs on healthcare issues impacting enrolled Veterans who live in rural areas.
Source: Federal Register
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RUS: Announcement of Grant Application Deadlines and Funding Levels Federal Register
Apr 18, 2016 - The Rural Utilities Service announces its Community Connect Grant Program application window for Fiscal Year 2016. The purpose of the program is to provide grants that will provide currently unserved areas with broadband service that fosters economic growth and delivers enhanced educational, healthcare, and public safety services.
Source: Federal Register
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Stronger, Potentially Lethal Heroin Shows up in Rural Virginia
Apr 15, 2016 - Highlights growing rates of heroin overdoses across Virginia and provides tips on how to remain on high alert for signs of abuse.
Source: The Washington Post
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Senate Appropriations Committee Approves FY2017 MilCon-VA Bill
Apr 14, 2016 - Describes the passage of the FY 2017 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill through the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations. Among other things, this bill provides $250 million to rural health initiatives to improve healthcare access for rural veterans.
Source: U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations
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NQF and the Senate Rural Health Caucus Host Briefing on Measuring and Improving the State of Rural Healthcare in America
Apr 13, 2016 - Announces a joint briefing of the Senate Rural Health Caucus and the National Quality Forum to discuss improving the quality of healthcare in rural America. The event will take place on April 19th at 3:30 p.m. Eastern and will feature keynote speakers Senator Al Franken (D-MN) and Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), who serve as co-chairs of the Senate Rural Health Caucus, as well as a panel of rural health experts.
Source: National Quality Forum
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Health Care’s Hard Realities On The Reservation: A Photo Essay
Apr 13, 2016 - Provides a glimpse into the lives of Native Americans in South Dakota and the challenges and barriers they face in accessing healthcare services, including geographic distances that many face.
Source: Kaiser Health News
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HRSA Reveals New Tool for Rural GME
Apr 12, 2016 - Announces the release of a new tool that assesses whether rural hospitals are teaching hospitals and their eligibility for the Rural Residency Planning and Development Program, which impacts a hospital's ability to grow residency programs and related funding sources.
Source: Lexology
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Medicare 'Hospital Star Rating’ May Correspond to Patient Outcomes
Apr 12, 2016 - Describes a new study that finds a positive connection between patient satisfaction and health outcomes. Outlines findings from the study indicating high levels of patient satisfaction among small and rural hospitals.
Source: Reuters
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In Rural States Policy Changes To Improve Access To Home Dialysis Are Vital
Apr 12, 2016 - This blog post highlights the benefits of and barriers to home dialysis for rural residents with chronic kidney disease; many of whom have to travel many miles to dialysis centers.
Source: Health Affairs Blog
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A Rural Healthcare Roadmap
Apr 12, 2016 - Describes a recent study that finds financial pressures on rural healthcare facilities impact rural healthcare delivery and, in turn, shape the way architects design these facilities. Highlights key principles of rural healthcare design identified by the study, including optimizing accessibility, operating self-sufficiently, standardizing and adapting clinical spaces, and maximizing staff connectivity.
Source: Healthcare Design
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Community Colleges Aim to Spur Better Health
Apr 11, 2016 - Describes Healthy Places NC which is a Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust supported initiative that improves the health of residents in a dozen of North Carolina's most rural and financially distressed counties by educating them on healthier ways to prepare meals.
Source: Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust
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Rural Medicine: Pediatric Care Costly and Complex
Apr 11, 2016 - Highlights a recent study that found healthcare disparities between rural and urban children. These disparities include differences in rates of medically complex chronic conditions and hospital readmission.
Source: MedPage Today
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Heroin Lives Here
Apr 11, 2016 - Describes the dramatic growth in heroin abuse across rural North Carolina in recent years and highlights the personal cost of losing friends and family to heroin overdose.
Source: North Carolina Health News
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Healthpartners, Essentia Health Study to Look at Increasing Preventive Cancer Care in Rural Areas
Apr 10, 2016 - Reports on an upcoming HealthPartners Institute study that will measure the effectiveness of the Cancer Prevention Wizard (CP Wizard) in increasing cancer prevention care in rural areas.
Source: Brainerd Dispatch
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A New Divide in American Death
Apr 10, 2016 - Reports on recent findings describing mortality rates and the disparities within them; most notably the difference between urban-rural women. Illustrates growing rural mortality rates over the past two decades by providing statistics and graphics.
Source: The Washington Post
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Shake-up to Survive: Struggling Rural Hospital in Kentucky Works on a Turnaround
Apr 9, 2016 - Reports how a CEO of a hospital in rural Kentucky is working to reestablish financial viability by cutting costs and attracting new federal funding to prevent downsizing or closure of the facility. (Full article may require free registration)
Source: Modern Healthcare
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Alone on the Range, Seniors Often Lack Access to Health Care
Apr 8, 2016 - Describes the challenges of aging in rural communities across the country, including access to healthcare due to a lack of healthcare workforce, transportation to it, and ability to pay for it.
Source: The New York Times
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A Year After HIV Outbreak, Austin Still Community in Recovery
Apr 8, 2016 - Recounts the HIV outbreak epidemic of one year ago in rural Scott County, Indiana. Highlights how the community is still in recovery from the episode.
Source: IndyStar
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Rural Recruiting, Retention Proves Daunting
Apr 7, 2016 - This blog post shares the thoughts on a young physician who highlights both the positive aspects of practicing rural and the negatives aspects that impact rural facilities' ability to recruit and retain workforce.
Source: American Academy of Family Physicians
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IHS: Notification of a Public Teleconference on American Indian/Alaska Native Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Two-Spirit Health Issues Federal Register
Apr 7, 2016 - Indian Health Service (IHS) gives notice of a public teleconference planned to gather information on best practices to improve the health services provided to the American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Two-Spirit (LGBT2S) community.
Source: Federal Register
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Helmsley Trust Announces Nearly $9M for Billings Clinic, State for Rural Health Care
Apr 6, 2016 - Announces a gift of nearly $9 million from the Leona M. And Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust to support rural healthcare workforce training across Montana and the region.
Source: Billings Gazette
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New Stark Law Exception Breathes Life into Primary Care, Especially in Underserved Areas
Apr 6, 2016 - Describes a regulatory adjustment making hiring practices more flexible for primary care and mental health providers in underserved and rural areas.
Source: JD Supra
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Shutting Rural Labor and Delivery Units Threatens Access, Health
Apr 6, 2016 - This blog post highlights the importance of access to obstetric services within rural communities amidst a trend of rural healthcare facilities closing obstetric services across the county.
Source: The American Academy of Family Physicians
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How to Address Rural Obesity? New Efforts Aim to Train Doctors about Nutrition
Apr 4, 2016 - Discusses the growth in rates of obesity across the nation and the importance of training and rewarding doctors to emphasize to their patients the impact of nutrition and exercise on their overall health status.
Source: High Plains Journal
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Hospital in Drug-Ravaged Appalachia Provides Hope and Jobs
Apr 2, 2016 - Describes the rebound of Jellico Community Hospital in Jellico, Tennessee and highlights financial troubles being faced by rural hospitals across Tennessee and the country.
Source: Modern Healthcare
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The Doctor is Out
Apr 1, 2016 - Recounts the years leading up to the closure of Bowie Memorial Hospital in Bowie, Texas, including arguments within the community for and against the closure. Details the impact of the closure related to the local economy, health of its residents, and emotional toll on the rural community. Reports a new opportunity to reopen the facility.
Source: The Texas Observer
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