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

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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Interactive Medical Drones: No Longer Science Fiction
Jun 16, 2017 - Highlights efforts in Mississippi to incorporate drones into emergency medical response systems. In this project, drones would bring medical supplies and audiovisual equipment to rural people in need of care in the aftermath of large storms and tornadoes which may have knocked down trees or blocked roads in other ways. Touches on some of the challenges as well as the potential of this project.
Source: Stateline, Pew Charitable Trusts
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State Attorneys General Probe Opioid Drug Companies
Jun 15, 2017 - State Attorneys General from what is described as a majority of states have joined a bi-partisan coalition to investigate the marketing and sales practices of drug companies that manufacture opioid painkillers. They did not announce which companies were under investigation.
Source: Reuters
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Secretary Perdue Hosts Inaugural Rural Prosperity Task Force Meeting
Jun 15, 2017 - Details the first meeting of the Inaugural Rural Prosperity Task Force, headed by U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. Attendees discussed their plans to develop a method of interagency cooperative to achieve their goal of improving the quality of life for people in rural areas. Includes a video of the meeting.
Source: United States Department of Agriculture
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Medicare Payment Advisory Commission Releases Report on Medicare and the Health Care Delivery System
Jun 15, 2017 - The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) has released its June 2017 Report to the Congress: Medicare and the Health Care Delivery System. Topics covered include implementing a unified payment system for post-acute care (PAC), reforming Medicare payment for drugs under Part B, Redesigning the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and strengthening advanced alternative payment models (A-APMs), stand-alone emergency departments, and hospital and skilled nursing facility use by Medicare beneficiaries who reside in nursing facilities (NFs), among other things.
Source: Medicare Payment Advisory Commission
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Long After ’80s Farm Crisis, Farm Workers Still Take Own Lives at High Rate
Jun 14, 2017 - According to a new study from the University of Iowa, farmer suicide rates are significantly higher than those of any other occupation. In the 1980s, more than 1,000 farmers committed suicide as a result of losing their farms to foreclosure. Though rates have gone down since that time, they are still worryingly high due to a number of stressors including physical isolation, physical pain, lack of access to healthcare, especially mental health care, the stigma attached to seeking out mental healthcare, and financial stress.
Source: Iowa Now
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America’s New Tobacco Crisis: The Rich Stopped Smoking, the Poor Didn't
Jun 13, 2017 - Despite steady declines in smoking rates nationally, large percentages of people who are poor, less educated, or who live in rural areas continue to smoke. Rural residents are diagnosed with lung cancer at rates 18%-20% higher than their urban counterparts and yet often have reduced access to healthcare and cessation programs. Meanwhile, tobacco companies have invested in lobbying against smoking restrictions and taxes in poorer, rural, and often Southern states where smoking rates are highest. (May require subscription to view full article.)
Source: The Washington Post
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Panels Examine Bills to Improve Critical Tribal Health Care and Housing Programs
Jun 13, 2017 - The U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs convened a legislative hearing on three bills. The Restoring Accountability in the Indian Health Service Act of 2017 would provide system-wide reform to the Indian Health Service (IHS) in an effort to ensure access to reliable, quality healthcare. The Building Useful Initiatives for Indian Land Development (BUIILD) Act and the Tribal HUD-VASH Act would reauthorize housing programs that address the homelessness and under-housing of tribal citizens and veterans, respectively.
Source: United States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs
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HHS Awards $72.5 Million in Funding for Youth Mental Health Services
Jun 13, 2017 - The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has awarded $72.5 million to seven states and one local government agency through its Expansion and Sustainability of the Comprehensive Community Mental Health Services for Children with Serious Emotional Disturbances Program, also known as the Children's Mental Health Initiative. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) will distribute the funding to Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and a county in Maryland.
Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
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Fighting AIDS in the Deep South: Glimmers of Hope
Jun 13, 2017 - Details the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the South, especially among African-Americans and people who live in rural areas. These high rates are attributed to social factors including poverty, racism, persistent anti-gay attitudes, unstable housing, decreased access to transportation and medical care, and lower rates of funding. Also highlights a telemedicine program working to provide much-needed care.
Source: Stateline, Pew Charitable Trusts
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A Conversation with Marybeth Peña
Jun 13, 2017 - Radio interview with Marybeth Peña, the Nurse Program Specialist for the Florida Department of Health in Martin county. Discussion focuses on the program she oversees, "The Program for Chronic Disease," which is dedicated to obesity-related chronic disease prevention, among other things.
Source: Rural Health Leadership Radio
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SAMHSA’s Behavioral Health Barometer Provides Key In-depth Information on the Nation’s Behavioral Health
Jun 12, 2017 - The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has released a report providing an overview of behavioral health in the U.S. including the prevalence of substance abuse, serious mental illness, serious thoughts of suicide, and related treatment broken down by age, gender, racial and ethnic categories, poverty status, and health insurance status. This report, the Behavioral Health Barometer, United States, Volume 4, is available online.
Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
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Restoring Rural America Primary Goal for Ag Secretary
Jun 9, 2017 - Highlights a speech given by Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue at the Delta Council annual meeting where he addresses his plans for improving the rural economy by fostering job creation, increasing food exports, and addressing persistent rural poverty.
Source: Delta Farm Press
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FDA Calls On Drugmaker To Pull A Powerful Opioid Off The Market
Jun 8, 2017 - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is calling on Endo Pharmaceuticals to stop selling a specific opioid painkiller, Opana ER, due to the "public health consequences of abuse." This is the first time the FDA has acted to remove an opioid from the market, citing the frequent misuse of the drug and associated outbreaks of HIV, hepatitis C, and another serious but less well-known blood disorder called thrombotic microangiopathy. Endo Pharmaceuticals released a statement highlighting their efforts to prevent abuse of the drug and stating that they are reviewing the FDA's request.
Source: NPR
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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Seeks Public Input on Reducing the Regulatory Burdens of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA)
Jun 8, 2017 - The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a Request for Information (RFI) seeking feedback on how to change the existing regulations of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) in order to increase consumer choice and affordability and state control over healthcare.
Source: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
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Fiscal Year 2017 Tribal Self-Governance Cooperative Agreements available for Tribes and Tribal Organizations
Jun 8, 2017 - Blog post from the Indian Health Services (IHS) describing their Tribal Self-Governance Planning and Negotiation Cooperative Agreements Program, which is currently accepting applications. This program, administered by the Office of Tribal Self-Governance, includes Planning Cooperative Agreements with individual awards up to $120,000 and Negotiation Cooperative Agreements with individual awards up to $48,000.
Source: Indian Health Service Blog
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A Conversation with John Gill
Jun 6, 2017 - Radio interview with John Gill, President of the National Association of Rural Health Clinics. Discussion includes the creation and the work of the National Association of Rural Health Clinics, the use of advanced practice providers, and the of administration of Critical Access Hospitals and Rural Health Clinics, among other things.
Source: Rural Health Leadership Radio
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The Opioid Crisis Changed How Doctors Think about Pain
Jun 5, 2017 - Describes the evolution in the medical community towards taking pain-management more seriously and seeking to entirely eliminate pain. Also describes the more recent moves away from complete pain-elimination as the destructive effects of opioid addiction became clearer. Features the rural community of Williamson, WV.
Source: Vox
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Generations, Disabled
Jun 2, 2017 - Highlights the struggles of a rural family with four generations suffering from one or more types of disability to address the high disability rates in rural areas. 9.1% of working-age people in rural communities are disabled, a number that is nearly twice the rate in urban counties and 40% higher than the national average. Much of the "disability belt" includes states with high rural populations. (May require subscription to view full article.)
Source: The Washington Post
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New VA Online Tool Helps Veterans Learn About and Compare Effective PTSD Treatments
Jun 2, 2017 - The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced the launch of the PTSD Treatment Decision Aid, a free online tool to help veterans compare treatment options for post-traumatic stress disorder. The tool provides education on different treatments, including video testimonials from veterans who have used that treatment method.
Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
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As Rural America Faces an Onslaught of Alzheimer's Disease, States Look to Radical Ways to Help
Jun 1, 2017 - Highlights the set of circumstances which make Alzheimer's disease particularly difficult to manage in rural areas, like a growing elderly population and issues related to access, affordability, and distance. Also delves into the pressures these circumstances place on informal caregivers, whose health and mental acuity can suffer as a result of the stress of caring for someone with Alzheimer's, and details the work of some programs to support informal caregivers as a means of improving the health of both caregivers and the people for whom they are caring.
Source: Newsweek
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A Conversation with Carolyn Bruce
Jun 1, 2017 - Radio interview with Carolyn Bruce, the CEO of Western Healthcare Alliance and Healthcare Management and the Executive Director of the California Critical Access Hospital Network. Discussion includes the work of these two organizations and the value they provide to their members, the importance of partnerships in maintaining rural health access, and concern about rural health facility closures, among other things.
Source: Rural Health Leadership Radio
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HHS Announces over $70 Million in Grants to Address the Opioid Crisis
May 31, 2017 - The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that over $70 million is available over multiple years to prevent deaths and provide treatment for opioid use disorder. These grants are available through several different grant programs, and will fund medication-assisted treatment, expanded access to lifesaving overdose reversal medications, the training of healthcare providers and first responders, and establish a protocol for connecting overdose patients with appropriate treatment.
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
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Secretary Shulkin Delivers His First ‘State of the VA’ Address
May 31, 2017 - Highlights some of the topics covered in Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) Dr. David Shulkin's first 'State of the VA' address, including access to care, quality of care, and mental healthcare and suicide programs, among other things. A fact sheet on the topics discussed is available.
Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
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Rural Aging Projects Can Be Smaller But ‘Life Changing,’ Say Funders
May 30, 2017 - Discusses the challenges related to aging in place in rural areas, and the general lack of funding for programs providing these services in rural areas as compared to their urban counterparts. Also explores the significant impact funding for these kinds of programs can have in rural areas.
Source: Grantmakers in Aging via The Daily Yonder
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