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

USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture Invests in the Safety, Health of Farmers
Dec 8, 2017 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) awarded six new grants to support farmer health and safety. These grants, funded through the Youth Farm Safety Education and Certification (YFSEC) Program and state and regional AgrAbility initiatives, aim to prevent serious injuries and fatalities associated with farming through education and support.
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture
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Sen. Hatch Pushes Bipartisan Effort to Renew Funding for Rural Counties, Schools
Dec 7, 2017 - Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) are leading a bi-partisan group of 32 senators advocating for a re-authorization of the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) Program to be included in any legislation proposed before the end of the year. The SRS program, which supports public schools, emergency services, and other essential services for more than 775 rural counties, expired in September of this year.
Source: KUTV
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Health Risks To Farmworkers Increase As Workforce Ages
Dec 7, 2017 - Discusses the aging farm workforce and factors that may be contributing to this reality. Declining health due to age and years of labor take a toll on farm workers, many of whom do not have private insurance and cannot access Medicaid.
Source: Kaiser Health News
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CMS Office of the Actuary Releases 2016 National Health Expenditures
Dec 6, 2017 - The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Office of the Actuary has released a study on overall national health spending. The study includes spending growth trends for private health insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, prescription drugs, and out-of-pocket consumer costs.
Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
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Two-Thirds of Rural Counties Have Fewer Jobs Today Than in 2007
Dec 6, 2017 - According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, rural counties continue to have fewer jobs available than they had before the recession in 2007. 40% of urban counties have fewer jobs than they did in 2007, compared to two-thirds of rural counties. Rural unemployment rates have dropped, but this is because the rural workforce has declined. Includes an interactive map with county-level data.
Source: The Daily Yonder
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USDA Promises New SNAP Flexibilities to Promote Self-Sufficiency
Dec 5, 2017 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will offer states greater local control over the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in an effort to promote self-sufficiency, integrity, and customer service. Specifics on these new flexibilities will be communicated to state agencies in the coming weeks.
Source: United States Department of Agriculture
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Request for Information (RFI): Soliciting Input for the Tribal Health Research Office (THRO) Strategic Plan (FY 2018-2022)
Dec 4, 2017 - Information request inviting comments and suggestions on the National Institute of Health (NIH) Tribal Health Research Office's (THRO) Strategic Plan. This Strategic Plan focuses on stimulating new research areas, priorities, and approaches to improve the health of tribal communities. Comments will be accepted through January 8, 2018.
Source: National Institutes of Health, Office of Extramural Research
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Medical Care Supplement Call for Papers, Health IT to Address Disparities
Dec 2, 2017 - The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) is sponsoring a supplement to the journal Medical Care on "Addressing Health Disparities through the Utilization of Health Information Technology." Research must focus on one or more minority or health disparity populations. Papers must be submitted by February 12, 2018. (Announcement in the right sidebar.)
Source: National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities
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Rural Hospitals Balk as Insurers Narrow Coverage Sites
Dec 1, 2017 - Focuses on a specific Critical Access Hospital in Indiana to highlight the impact of a change in health insurance policy. Some health insurers no longer pay for outpatient MRI and CT scans unless they are done in free-standing imaging centers, which are typically less expensive. However, because hospitals have to have their imaging machines available at all times for emergencies, sending patients elsewhere can significantly affect their bottom lines, especially for small and rural hospitals. Additionally, this rule may force patients to travel further for care. (May require registration for full article.)
Source: Modern Healthcare
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CMS Finalizes Changes to the Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement Model, Cancels Episode Payment Models and Cardiac Rehabilitation Incentive Payment Model
Nov 30, 2017 - The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) implemented changes to the Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CJR) Model. CMS also finalized the cancellation of the mandatory hip fracture and cardiac bundled payment models that were to be operated by the CMS Innovation Center. A fact sheet is available.
Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
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CMS Releases Its Measures Under Consideration List for 2018 Pre-Rulemaking
Nov 30, 2017 - Blog post from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announcing that they have released the annual list of quality and cost measures that are under consideration for Medicare quality reporting and value-based purchasing programs. CMS collaborates with the National Quality Forum (NQF) to get input from stakeholders on this list in order to provide more high quality care and achieve better individual outcomes.
Source: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Blog
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Impact of Childhood Trauma Reaches Rural Wisconsin
Nov 30, 2017 - Focuses on a rural county in Wisconsin where rates of opioid overdoses and hospitalizations are particularly high. This county also has high rates of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). Addresses the impact both of these things can have on individuals and communities and how they are exacerbated by limited access to healthcare.
Source: journal sentinel
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Opioid Crisis Affects Farmers Harder Than Their Rural Neighbors
Nov 29, 2017 - According to a poll commissioned by the American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Farmers Union, almost 75% of U.S. farmers and farm workers report being directly affected by opioid dependence, while the rural population as a whole only reports approximately 45% being directly affected. Farmers and farm workers also were more likely to report that it is easy to access opioids in their community.
Source: Bloomberg
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Updated Medicare Part D Opioid Drug Mapping Tool Unveiled
Nov 29, 2017 - The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released an updated version of their interactive Medicare opioid prescribing mapping tool. This tool provides geographic comparisons of Medicare Part D opioid prescribing rates and includes county-level hot spots and outliers.
Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
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CDC Report Details Health Disparities Between Rural Minorities
Nov 28, 2017 - Details the results of a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which found that rural communities have become increasingly racially and ethnically diverse in recent years, but that there are significant health disparities between groups.
Source: North Carolina Health News
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Industry Voices—the FCC's Rural Health Care Fund Is a Victim of Its Own Success
Nov 27, 2017 - The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued a proposal to increase the $400 million annual cap on the Rural Health Care Fund. Among other things, this proposal would target funding to rural and tribal healthcare providers and prioritize the distribution of grants based on remoteness, type of service requested, whether the funding will come from the Telecom Program or the Healthcare Connect Fund, and the economic need of the provider's population.
Source: FierceHealthcare
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Third-World Parasite Plagues the Rural South
Nov 22, 2017 - Highlights the prevalence of hookworm in the rural South, focusing on a specific county in Alabama. Many of these residents cannot afford septic systems, and those who can often have systems that are not conducive to the climate and soil type, pumping sewage back into homes. Details the impact of hookworm disease on health, especially in children, and research happening to better understand the problem and potential solutions.
Source: Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity
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CMS Updates Medicare Advantage Value-Based Insurance Design (VBID) Model for 2019
Nov 22, 2017 - The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced updates to the Medicare Advantage Value-Based Insurance Design (VBID) Model for 2019 to expand into an additional fifteen states, allow Chronic Condition Special Needs Plans to participate, and allow participants to propose their own systems or methods for identifying eligible enrollees.
Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
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MAP Rural Health Workgroup Final Roster
Nov 22, 2017 - The National Quality Forum's (NQF) Rural Health Workgroup's roster has been finalized. This workgroup was created to advise the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on issues related to measurement challenges in the rural population and to identify rural-relevant measures and gaps in measurement. The Measure Applications Partnership (MAP) Coordinating Committee provides oversight for this workgroup.
Source: National Quality Forum
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Trump Administration Moves to Alter Drug Discount Program That Many Rural Hospitals Rely On
Nov 21, 2017 - Details the 340B prescription drug program that allows hospitals serving low-income patients to buy medication at a discount and sell it to local pharmacies in order to bolster their bottom lines. In rural areas, this program has prevented hospital closures. A final rule from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2018 would reduce funding for hospitals in the program. Includes commentary from both those who support and those who oppose the rule.
Source: KBIA
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'Here It Goes': Coming Out To Your Doctor In Rural America
Nov 21, 2017 - Details some of the fears faced by members of the LGBT community in seeking medical care in rural areas, especially as it relates to sexual health. Although the rural Californians interviewed did not face the discrimination they feared, their physicians had to do additional research in order to meet their medical needs. A local physician pointed out that doctors often don't get much education on LGBT health in medical school.
Source: NPR
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Massachusetts Grabs Spotlight By Proposing New Twist On Medicaid Drug Coverage
Nov 21, 2017 - Highlights the Massachusetts state Medicaid program's demonstration proposal, submitted to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The proposal would allow the state to negotiate discounts for prescription drugs and to exclude drugs with limited treatment value. Discusses possible ramifications if this proposal were approved and implemented.
Source: Kaiser Health News
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A Conversation with Steve Tenhouse
Nov 21, 2017 - Radio interview with Steve Tenhouse, the CEO of Kirby Medical Center, a Critical Access Hospital in Illinois. Discussion includes the importance of a hospital's culture, lessons learned as a hospital CEO, and the importance of rural hospitals, among other things.
Source: Rural Health Leadership Radio
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USDA Rural Development Announces New Executive Leadership
Nov 20, 2017 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development announced the appointment of several new executive leaders including a Chief Innovation Officer to lead the Rural Development Innovation Center and a Director of External Affairs to manage legislative and public affairs activities.
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Development
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Opioid, Heroin Overdoses Contributing to Rural Population Decline, USDA Says
Nov 17, 2017 - In its annual survey of rural America, Rural America at a Glance the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that population rates are decreasing in rural areas and that mortality rates of working-age adults are increasing, in part because of opioid overdoses.
Source: KUNC
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USDA Invests More Than $1 Billion to Improve Health Care in Rural Areas
Nov 17, 2017 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that in fiscal year 2017 they provided more than $1 billion to improve access to healthcare services in rural communities. The USDA offered direct loans to 97 rural healthcare projects in 41 states through the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program.
Source: United States Department of Agriculture
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CMS Releases Proposed Rule to Increase Choices and Lower Premiums for Medicare Advantage Enrollees
Nov 16, 2017 - The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a proposed rule to allow Medicare Advantage beneficiaries more flexibility with customized benefit designs to address their specific health needs. The proposed rule would also work to reduce regulatory burdens. There is a fact sheet available.
Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
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Administrator’s Blog: National Rural Health Day (November 16, 2017)
Nov 16, 2017 - Blog post from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) from CMS Administrator Seema Verma on the topic of National Rural Health Day. Touches on challenges faced by rural communities like physician recruitment and what CMS will do to mitigate those challenges and help improve rural health.
Source: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Blog
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CMS Proposes Policies to Lower the Cost of Prescription Drugs and Combat the Opioid Crisis
Nov 16, 2017 - The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have issued a proposed rule intended to provide more affordable prescription drugs to Medicare Part D enrollees and to allow Medicare to combat overprescribing and abuse of opioid medications. A fact sheet on this proposed rule is available.
Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
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In Rural America, Community-Driven Solutions Improve Health
Nov 15, 2017 - Blog post from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) on the diversity of rural America as well as the shared strengths and obstacles rural communities face and the impact those obstacles have on health. Includes examples of innovative local solutions in rural communities that were awarded the RWJF Culture of Health Prize, as well as a list of rural health resources.
Source: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Blog
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Ways & Means Committee Leaders Announce Bipartisan Medicare Extenders Package
Nov 15, 2017 - The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means announced a bipartisan agreement to extend several expiring Medicare payment policies, including the Medicare Dependent Hospital Program and the Low-Volume Adjustment Program. The agreement includes offsetting the cost of these extensions with funding from other programs, including payments for Critical Access Hospital swing beds.
Source: U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means
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While Lower in Health Rankings, Rural Counties Still Have Advantages
Nov 15, 2017 - Details the results of the 2017 County Health Rankings which found that rural counties are less likely than their urban counterparts to receive high marks for health and are less likely to have organizations, people, and infrastructure in place to improve community health. Also touches on rural advantages that are more difficult to measure, like personal relationships and the interconnected nature of rural communities.
Source: The Daily Yonder
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Rural Food-Stamp Usage Holds Steady While National Rate Declines
Nov 14, 2017 - Use of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) continues to decline nationally, but rural areas have not seen a significant decrease in usage. Details the ways in which SNAP use rates can reflect other economic trends.
Source: The Daily Yonder
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A Conversation with Karen Madden
Nov 14, 2017 - Radio interview with Karen Madden, the Director of the Charles D. Cook Office of Rural Health within the New York State Department of Health in honor of National Rural Health Day. Discussion focuses the history of National Rural Health Day and the Power of Rural movement, among other things.
Source: Rural Health Leadership Radio
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USDA Helps Rural Communities Thrive With Health, Safety Outreach
Nov 13, 2017 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced that it would be supporting health education projects for individuals and families in rural areas through the Rural Health and Safety Education Competitive Grant Program. These grants were awarded to extension agents and land-grant universities in nine states with a focus on prevention and reduction of opioid abuse and chronic disease prevention and management.
Source: United States Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture
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Trump Picks Alex Azar To Lead Health And Human Services
Nov 13, 2017 - President Donald Trump has nominated Alex Azar to be the next Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS). Details Azar's professional history including his previous position as deputy HHS Secretary under President George W. Bush and the five years he spent working for the pharmaceutical company Lilly.
Source: NPR
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CMS: Medicare Program: Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment and Ambulatory Surgical Center Payment Systems and Quality Reporting Programs Federal Register
Nov 13, 2017 - Final rule from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) revising the Medicare Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) and the Medicare Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC) Payment System for calendar year 2018. Included in the rule is a provision that reduces Medicare Part B payments to Disproportionate Share Hospitals (DSHs) and Rural Referral Centers (RRCs) for drugs acquired through the 340B Drug Pricing Program. Effective January 1, 2018, payments to affected facilities will be reduced from average sales price (ASP) plus 6 percent, to ASP minus 22.5 percent. Among others, Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) and rural Sole Community Hospitals (SCHs) are excluded from this payment adjustment. Comments regarding provisions of the rule must be submitted no later than 5:00 p.m. Eastern on December 31, 2017.
Source: Federal Register
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How The Opioid Crisis Is Affecting Native Americans
Nov 11, 2017 - Radio interview with Dr. Ron Shaw, president of the Association of American Indian Physicians, about the impact of the opioid epidemic on Native American populations. Native Americans have the highest death rate from opioid overdoses of any demographic. Discussion includes the impact of historical trauma and the necessity of medication-assisted treatment.
Source: NPR
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One in Five US Adults Still Using Tobacco Products in 2015
Nov 9, 2017 - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a new Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) that found that 1 in 5 U.S. adults used some form of tobacco product in 2015. The report also includes data on tobacco use by race/ethnicity and gender. Higher tobacco use was found for adults living in the Midwest, people with a General Equivalency Diploma (GED), people with annual household incomes under $35,000, those with a disability, uninsured adults or adults insured through Medicaid, adults with serious psychological distress, and those who are lesbian, gay, or bisexual.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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Explore: How Many Young Doctors Does Your State Retain after Residency?
Nov 9, 2017 - Discusses the difficulty states face in trying to keep new doctors in state and in encouraging them to practice in underserved areas after they have completed their residencies. Also highlights data from a new report from the Association of American Medical Colleges tracking doctors and doctors-in-training by state.
Source: STAT News
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Critical Access Hospitals Unlikely to Engage in Advanced EHR Use
Nov 8, 2017 - According to a new study, Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) are less likely than other hospitals to use Electronic Health Record (EHR) data for performance measurement and patient engagement. The study suggested that this disparity could indicate a digital divide impacting small, rural and safety-net hospitals' ability to effectively use this data to improve the quality of patient care.
Source: EHR Intelligence
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Speech: Remarks by Administrator Seema Verma at the National Association of Medicaid Directors (NAMD) 2017 Fall Conference
Nov 7, 2017 - Speech given by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seem Verma at the National Association of Medicaid Directors (NAMD) 2017 Fall Conference. Discusses intentions to increase flexibility for state Medicaid plans, including allowing states to require physically capable individuals to be working, volunteering, or attending school or job training in order to qualify for Medicaid, among other things.
Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
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Using Urgent Care Centers to Support Rural Patient Care Access
Nov 7, 2017 - Highlights a strategy put forth in the recent Emerging Strategies to Ensure Access to Health Care Services guidebook released by the American Hospital Association's (AHA) Task Force on Ensuring Access in Vulnerable Communities. This strategy involves using urgent care centers (UCC), which are less expensive than emergency departments to maintain, as a way to serve the needs of rural and underserved communities more cost-effectively. Also links to an AHA toolkit designed to help communities determine if this strategy would work for them.
Source: Patient Engagement HIT
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A Conversation with Dale Gibbs and Tom Klobucar
Nov 7, 2017 - Radio interview with Dale Gibbs, the Chairman of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs' Veterans Rural Health Advisory Committee and a member of the National Rural Health Association Rural Health Congress and Rural Veterans Task Force, and Tom Klobucar, Acting Director of the Veterans Health Administration's Office of Rural Health. Discussion focuses on rural veterans' health in honor of Veterans Day, including barriers to access like provider shortages and transportation concerns, telehealth, and the Veterans Choice program, among other things.
Source: Rural Health Leadership Radio
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USDA Invests in Broadband Infrastructure in Unserved and Underserved Rural Areas
Nov 6, 2017 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing more than $200 million to expand broadband infrastructure to unserved and underserved rural communities. These awards, financed through the USDA's Telecommunications Program, will fund projects in West Virginia, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Virginia, Washington, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, and Wisconsin.
Source: United States Department of Agriculture
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Perdue Announces Farm Service Agency and Rural Development State Directors
Nov 3, 2017 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced new Farm Service Agency (FSA) and Rural Development (RD) State Directors. FSA State Directors help implement USDA policies in planning, organizing, and administering FSA programs, while RD State Directors work to help improve the economy and quality of life in rural America.
Source: United States Department of Agriculture
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The Joint Commission Issues Updated Emergency Management Requirements for Hospital, Ambulatory, Home Health and Hospice Settings
Nov 3, 2017 - The Joint Commission announced updates to its emergency management requirements for hospital, Critical Access Hospital, ambulatory, home health, and hospice settings in an effort to help healthcare organizations more effectively plan for disasters and coordinate with federal, state, tribal, regional, and local emergency preparedness systems. These updates will be effective November 15, 2017.
Source: The Joint Commission
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CMS Finalizes Policies that Reduce Provider Burden, Lower Drug Prices
Nov 2, 2017 - The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) highlights two final rules, to be published in the Federal Register on November 15 and 16th respectively. The 2018 Physician Fee Schedule final rule will modernize the Medicare payment system to create greater competition in the biopharmaceutical market to lower costs. The Quality Payment Program final rule allows clinicians in small and rural practices to join together and share the responsibility of participating in value-based payments. This rule also decreases the number of clinicians required to participate, provides additional detail on clinician participation in Advanced Alternative Payment Models (APMs), and includes a new hardship exception for small practices affected by the recent hurricanes.
Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
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Apply for 2018 AHA NOVA Award
Nov 2, 2017 - Blog post from the American Hospital Association (AHA) detailing their NOVA Award, which recognizes innovative collaborations hospitals engage in to better serve their patients. Applications for 2018 AHA NOVA Awards are due December 1, 2017.
Source: AHA STAT
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Poverty Rate Lower in Rural America Than Urban Centers
Nov 1, 2017 - According to the 2015 American Community Survey, households in rural areas have lower incomes than those in urban areas but they are less likely to live in poverty. In urban areas, 16% of people live below the official poverty line while only 13.3% of people in rural areas live below the official poverty line.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
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CMS Finalizes Policies that Lower Out-of-Pocket Drug Costs and Increase Access to High-Quality Care
Nov 1, 2017 - The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced two Medicare payment rules. The Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System and Ambulatory Surgical Center Payment System and Quality Reporting Programs Changes for 2018 rule is using the 340B Program to reduce the cost of Medicare Part B drugs for hospitals in order to pass those savings on to beneficiaries. It also places a two-year moratorium on the direct physician supervision requirements for rural hospitals and Critical Access Hospitals. The Home Health Prospective Payment System rule will move towards a more patient-centered model.
Source: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
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CMS Announces New Medicaid Policy to Combat the Opioid Crisis by Increasing Access to Treatment Options
Nov 1, 2017 - The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a new policy allowing states to design demonstration projects to increase access to treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD) and other substance use disorders (SUD). This announcement also includes the immediate approval of demonstration waivers for New Jersey and Utah under this new policy.
Source: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
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Joining the Battle Against Opioid Addiction in Rural Communities
Oct 31, 2017 - Blog post from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Director Gopal Khanna discussing the agency's efforts to combat the opioid epidemic, including expanding access to treatment through the work of five grantees in Colorado, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania. Details the work being done by these grantees as well as tools and resources collected by the AHRQ to help with the implementation of medication-assisted treatment in primary care settings.
Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Blog
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A Conversation with Davis Patterson, PhD
Oct 31, 2017 - Radio interview with Davis Patterson, the Director of the Collaborative for Rural Primary Care Research, Education, and Practice (Rural PREP), Deputy Director of the WWAMI Rural Health Research Center, and an investigator in the University of Washington Center for Health Workforce Studies. Discussion includes rural health disparities related to access and outcomes, recruitment and retention, and the work of the Rural PREP program, among other things.
Source: Rural Health Leadership Radio
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HRSA: National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services Federal Register
Oct 31, 2017 - Announces the charter renewal for the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services (NACRHHS), which provides advice to the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) on issues concerning the financing and provision of healthcare in rural areas. Effective October 31, 2017, the renewed charter authorizes the NACRHHS through October 31, 2019.
Source: Federal Register
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New Toolkit Helps Tribes Take More Control of Research
Oct 30, 2017 - Highlights the Collaborative Research Center for American Indian Health (CRCAIH) which provides funding for a research coordinator for each tribe and developed an Institutional Review Board (IRB) toolkit to help tribes take more control of health research. CRCAIH was created to build a tribal research infrastructure and to give tribes more control over the research being done on them and in their communities.
Source: Midwest Medical Edition
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Avera e-CARE's Telehealth Services Work to Preserve Healthy Rural Hospitals, Communities
Oct 30, 2017 - Highlights Avera Health's telehealth service in South Dakota. Created 25 years ago to reduce burnout in physicians in the rural regions it was serving, the program provided peer support across five Midwest states. Now serving providers in 15 states, this system allows for quick pharmacy, emergency, and other specialty care from specialists and keeps patients in their own communities.
Source: AHA News
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CMS Offers Medicare Enrollment Relief for Americans Affected by Recent Disasters
Oct 30, 2017 - The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is giving individuals who have been impacted by the wildfires in California and the recent hurricanes additional time to enroll in Medicare Part B and premium-Part A if they were unable to make a request during the initial and special enrollment periods.
Source: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
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CMS Administrator Verma Announces New Meaningful Measures Initiative and Addresses Regulatory Reform; Promotes Innovation at LAN Summit
Oct 30, 2017 - The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma announced a new approach to quality measurement called "Meaningful Measures," which involves only assessing the core issues that are vital to providing high-quality care and improving patient outcomes. This outcome-based approach is part of an effort to streamline quality measures, reduce regulatory burden, and promote innovation.
Source: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
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HHS Acting Secretary Declares Public Health Emergency to Address National Opioid Crisis
Oct 26, 2017 - As requested by President Donald Trump on Thursday, the acting Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Eric D. Hargan, declared the national opioid crisis a public health emergency. The declaration will allow HHS to accelerate temporary appointments of specialized personnel, expand access to addiction treatments, and provide flexibility for other response initiatives.
Source: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
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Partnerships Between Rural Hospitals and Academic Surgery Departments Can Reduce Costs and Patient Transfers
Oct 25, 2017 - A research team from the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center has developed a new methodology to reduce rural area surgical costs, improve quality of care, and increase revenue for rural hospitals and academic surgical programs. By establishing partnerships between rural hospitals and academic surgery departments, each entity can benefit from the other's resources. The study, which was presented at the 2017 American College of Surgeons Clinical Congress, focuses on improving patient satisfaction through reduced costs, fewer transfers, and quality local service.
Source: American College of Surgeons
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Rural Hospital Closures Hit Poor, Minority Communities Hardest
Oct 25, 2017 - Details the results of a study from the North Carolina Rural Health Research Program (NC RHRP) tracking "financial distress indicators" for rural hospitals, focusing in large part on a map displaying the distribution of the 122 rural hospital closures since 2005. 60% of rural hospital closures have been in the South, and these hospitals tend to serve minorities and lower-income areas.
Source: The Daily Yonder
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A Conversation with Leslie Hall
Oct 24, 2017 - Radio interview with Leslie Hall, the Executive Director of the Michigan Rural EMS Network (MiREMS). Discussion includes the work of MiREMS and their cardiac resuscitation program, recruitment and retention of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) professionals, and continuing education and leadership development, among other things.
Source: Rural Health Leadership Radio
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NRHA’s Scholarly Journal Seeks Editorial Board Volunteers
Oct 24, 2017 - The National Rural Health Association's (NRHA) scholarly journal, the Journal of Rural Health, is accepting applications for its editorial board. Three-year terms for open positions of the editorial board will begin on January 1, 2017. Applications will be accepted through November 30, 2017.
Source: NRHA Today
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Amid For-Profit Surge, Rural Hospice Has Offered Free Care for 40 Years
Oct 20, 2017 - Highlights the work of a non-profit hospice in Washington which, despite external pressure, has depended on volunteers and community donations to avoid accepting federal funding. This has allowed them to operate more flexibly because they are not bound by the regulations that accompany Medicare hospice funding, like only accepting patients with six months or fewer to live and requiring patients to receive care from a hospice physician rather than continuing with their own physician.
Source: Kaiser Health News
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CDC Reports Rising Rates of Drug Overdose Deaths in Rural Areas
Oct 19, 2017 - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a new Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) that found that rates of drug overdose deaths are rising in rural areas, surpassing rates in urban areas, despite a lower percentage of rural people reporting illicit drug use. This report, Illicit Drug Use, Illicit Drug Use Disorders, and Drug Overdose Deaths in Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Areas — United States, also found that the percentage of people reporting past-month use of illicit drugs has declined for youth aged 12-17 and increased substantially for other age groups.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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Hospital Closings Likely to Increase
Oct 19, 2017 - Discusses recent hospital closures and indications that they are likely to continue because these hospitals continue to have insufficient patient populations, high rates of uninsured patients, dwindling cash flow, and physician shortages. It is estimated that 9% of rural hospitals are at high risk for financial trouble, and these hospitals often serve vulnerable populations with significant health disparities. Also touches on programs designed to help these hospitals improve quality and track their viability.
Source: Health Resources and Services Administration
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Traumatic Experiences Widespread Among U.S. Youth, New Data Show
Oct 19, 2017 - Highlights new data on the prevalence of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) across the country, in individual states, and by demographics like race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status. Also touches on the lifelong impact ACEs can have on a person's health and well-being and ways to mitigate these impacts by building resilience in children.
Source: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
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The Health Wagon: A Telehealth Resource in a Rural Wilderness
Oct 18, 2017 - Highlights The Health Wagon, a mobile health service that has been serving rural Virginia for more than 30 years. Initially providing care out of the back of a Volkswagen, this service has expanded to providing care using Remote Area Medical vehicles, telehealth, mHealth devices, and drones. The area served has high rates of chronic disease, opioid abuse, and suicide.
Source: mHealthIntelligence
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Another Outbreak Related to the Nation’s Opioid Crisis: Hepatitis C
Oct 17, 2017 - Details the increased rates of Hepatitis C and how they correlate to the opioid epidemic by looking at West Virginia, which has the highest rates of overdose deaths and new hepatitis B and C infections in the country. Because those infected with hepatitis often do not display symptoms immediately, the disease can go untreated for years, leading eventually to end-stage liver disease. This is one among many diseases that are rising in the midst of the opioid epidemic, and although there is a treatment for it, for many it is not affordable. (May require subscription to view full article.)
Source: The Washington Post
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On Back Roads Of Appalachia’s Coal Country, Mental Health Services Are As Rare As Jobs
Oct 17, 2017 - Highlights the difficulty of accessing mental healthcare in rural West Virginia. Residents are faced with barriers like few providers, long wait times, distance, and limited access to vehicles. With the local economy struggling, common mental health ailments like anxiety and depression can be exacerbated. This is particularly concerning because the region has high suicide rates and because lack of mental healthcare can contribute to other health issues.
Source: Kaiser Health News
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