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

MAP Rural Health Workgroup 2017-2018 Call for Nominations
Sep 19, 2017 - The National Quality Forum (NQF) is establishing a rural health workgroup under the Measure Applications Partnership (MAP) to advise the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on the selection of rural-relevant measures for use in certain federal value-based purchasing and quality reporting programs. The MAP Rural Health Workgroup will consist of no more than 25 members with expertise in the areas of rural health, program implementation, and quality measurement. The NQF is accepting nominations through September 29, 2017 at 6:00 pm Eastern time.
Source: National Quality Forum
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A Conversation with Mark Lindsay
Sep 19, 2017 - Radio interview with Mark Lindsay, an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and the Medical Director for Allevant, a training and education company that helps Critical Access Hospitals manage post-acute care. Discussion includes Lindsay's work at Mayo and the work of Allevant, Critical Access Hospitals and swing-bed programs, and population and preventative health, among other things.
Source: Rural Health Leadership Radio
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Rural Areas Struggle with Health Care Availability
Sep 16, 2017 - Insights on the barriers to rural healthcare access from Dr. Alana Knudson, Co-Director of the NORC Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis. Includes discussion on hospital closures, transportation, and demand for physicians.
Source: WRVO Public Media
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Rural Hospitals Struggle To Stock Expensive Drugs That Could Save Lives
Sep 15, 2017 - Rural healthcare providers often struggle to stock sufficient quantities of certain kinds of life-saving prescription drugs because of their high price tag. A provision expanded under the Affordable Care Act extended the 340B drug discount program for hospitals that primarily serve low-income people to cover rural providers as well. However, this provision includes an exception for "orphan drugs," or prescription medications used to treat rare diseases, meaning they are not discounted for rural facilities. Because many prescription drugs are granted orphan drug status while they are being tested on rare conditions, this exception prevents rural hospitals from getting discounts on widely-used and life-saving medications.
Source: NPR
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VA Releases Veteran Suicide Statistics by State
Sep 15, 2017 - The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) released findings from its analysis of veteran suicide data in their State Data report. They found that the risk for suicide is 22% higher for veterans than for non-veteran adults, that 65% of veterans who commit suicide are 50 or older, and that the highest rates of suicide are in Western states and in states with smaller populations.
Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
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Opioid Crisis Takes a Toll on Rural Older Adults
Sep 15, 2017 - Highlights the impacts of the opioid epidemic on older people living in rural areas. Those dealing with addiction face limited access to treatment, while those who are not addicted may still be affected by the diversion of community resources to address the needs of those who are. Discusses the scope of the opioid epidemic, provides an overview of access issues in rural areas that affect older adults, explains how elderly people can become addicted through valid prescriptions, and touches on some potential solutions.
Source: Next Avenue
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HHS Commits $144.1 Million in Additional Funding for Opioid Crisis
Sep 15, 2017 - The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has awarded $144.1 million in grants to prevent and treat opioid addiction. These grants will be administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) through six grant programs: First Responders, the State Pilot Grant for Treatment of Pregnant and Postpartum Women, Building Communities of Recovery, Improving Access to Overdose Treatment, Targeted Capacity Expansion: Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT), and the Services Grant Program for Residential Treatment for Pregnant and Postpartum Women.
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
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HUD Awards $55 Million for Housing and Community Development Projects in 77 Native American Communities
Sep 14, 2017 - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced it would be awarding $55.2 million through its Indian Community Development Block Grant Program. These grants will be distributed to 77 Native American tribes throughout the country to improve housing conditions and to stimulate economic development.
Source: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
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HRSA Awards $200 Million to Health Centers Nationwide to Tackle Mental Health and Fight the Opioid Overdose Crisis
Sep 14, 2017 - The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) announced that it is awarding more than $200 million to 1,179 health centers and 13 rural health organizations to increase access to substance abuse and mental health services. This money will be distributed to every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the Pacific Basin. 496 of the health centers receiving these awards are located in rural communities.
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
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Broadband Analysis: Scrappy Wireless ISPs Get the Job Done
Sep 14, 2017 - Discusses the utility of Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISPs) in bringing higher speed internet access to rural areas. Although WISPs typically provide slower internet than broadband, they tend to be quicker and cheaper to build and implement, and for most families and small businesses the speed is adequate for their needs. Also touches on hybrid fiber/wireless systems.
Source: The Daily Yonder
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Indiana, Reeling from Opioid Crisis, Arms Officials with Data
Sep 14, 2017 - Highlights Indiana's online opioid database and how it's being used to combat the opioid epidemic. This database includes data on drug arrests, drug seizures, death records, pharmacy robberies, overdose-related emergency calls, and the use of naloxone. Also delves into what other states are doing with data in regards to the opioid crisis and ways that this kind of data could be used in the future.
Source: WIRED
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Drones Carrying Blood Could Be the Future of Rural Medicine
Sep 13, 2017 - Details the results of a recent study on the impact of drone transport on blood samples. In this study, blood samples driven in a car were compared to blood samples transported in a drone for 3 hours over an Arizona desert to see if the motion of the drone or the outside temperature would affect the blood. Studies like this bring the use of drones for medical transports much closer to becoming a reality, which could potentially have significant impacts in rural communities.
Source: The Verge
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More Opioid Prescriptions than People in Some California Counties
Sep 8, 2017 - In rural and semi-rural areas of California, prescription drug use and death rates are significantly higher than the state average. In 2016, some counties had more prescriptions filled than there are people in the county. Includes an overview of state legislation proposed in response to the opioid epidemic as well as state-specific data and maps.
Source: The Sacramento Bee
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National Survey Reveals the Scope of Behavioral Health Across the Nation
Sep 7, 2017 - Details the results of the latest National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). In 2016, there were 11.8 million people aged 12 and older who misused opioids in the past year. 11.5 million of those were misusing pain relievers rather than heroin, despite higher rates of people with heroin misuse disorder receiving treatment at a specialty facility. Even so, less than a quarter of people with an opioid use disorder received treatment at a specialty facility in the last year. Additionally, the prevalence of serious mental illness, depression, and suicidal ideation has increased among young adults in recent years.
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
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More than Half of Rural Counties Don’t Have a Hospital Where Women Can Give Birth
Sep 5, 2017 - Highlights a recent study that found that from 2004 to 2014, the percentage of rural counties without a hospital with obstetric services rose from 45 to 54, leaving 2.4 million women of childbearing age without nearby access to care. The study also found that the most geographically isolated counties were less likely to have obstetric services, and rural counties with lower median incomes and higher percentages of African American women of reproductive age were less likely to have hospitals with maternity wards. (May require subscription to view full article.)
Source: The Washington Post
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A Conversation with Christian Curtis
Sep 5, 2017 - Radio interview with Christian Curtis, a registered nurse who works with the Fort Peck Tribes Health Promotion Disease Prevention (HPDP) program in Montana. Discussion includes the work of the HPDP, including school-based clinics and telehealth, and the influence of historical trauma on health, among other things.
Source: Rural Health Leadership Radio
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Syringe Exchange Program Aims To Slow Hepatitis C Infections In Alaska
Aug 29, 2017 - Highlights the work of a syringe exchange program in Alaska and the impacts of these types of exchange programs generally. Among Alaskans 18-29, the hepatitis C rate doubled between 2011 and 2015. In some rural areas, hepatitis C rates have increased by 490%. With only four exchange programs in the state, people in small towns often have limited access to clean syringes. Hepatitis C is also extremely expensive to treat. This exchange program could operate for nearly a year for the cost of curing one person with hepatitis C.
Source: NPR
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A Conversation with Don Kelso
Aug 29, 2017 - Radio interview with Don Kelso, the executive director of the Indiana Rural Health Association (IRHA). Discussion includes the general state of rural health in Indiana, telehealth, and the need for better behavioral health access in rural areas, among other things.
Source: Rural Health Leadership Radio
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With Opioid Crisis, a Surge in Hepatitis C
Aug 28, 2017 - Details the spike in new hepatitis C infections as a result of the opioid epidemic and the specific challenges created by the fact that this epidemic is so prevalent in rural areas with less access to care and to syringe exchange programs.
Source: Stateline, Pew Charitable Trusts
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HRSA: Meeting of the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services Federal Register
Aug 28, 2017 - The National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services (NACRHHS) will hold an open meeting on September 11-13, 2017, at the Spring Hill Suites in Boise, Idaho. The meeting will consist of a discussion on the issues of Rural Health Clinic modernization and suicide in rural areas, and conclude with a planning session to discuss plans for the next quarter. Committee site visits are also scheduled on the morning of September 12. The final agenda will be posted on NACRHHS's website prior to the meeting start date, and members of the public may attend the meeting in person.
Source: Federal Register
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HHS Establishing Pain Management Task Force/Seeks Member Nominations
Aug 25, 2017 - The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the creation of a Pain Management Task Force to develop a set of best practices for prescribing pain medication and for managing chronic and acute pain in order to address any gaps or inconsistencies among federal agencies. HHS is currently seeking member nominations from the public, due September 27, 2017.
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
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Appalachian Region Endures Dramatic Health Challenges Compared with Nation, New Research Shows
Aug 24, 2017 - Highlights a recent study that found significant health disparities between Appalachia and the country as a whole. This study, Health Disparities in Appalachia is part of the larger, multi-part health research project Creating a Culture of Health in Appalachia: Disparities and Bright Spots. Health disparities were found in relation to health conditions, drug overdoses, supply of healthcare professionals, and risk factors for health issues, among other things. Also touches on some areas in which Appalachia is doing better than the national average.
Source: Appalachian Regional Commission
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Providing a State-by-State Picture of the Nation's Opioids Crisis
Aug 23, 2017 - Blog post from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) from AHRQ's Director, Gopal Khanna. Highlights a new interactive map of the United States that provides state-specific data on the opioid epidemic, including hospitalization rates and how those rates vary by demographic. This online tool includes data for 44 states and the District of Columbia.
Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Blog
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Drop-In Centers, Long Available in Urban Settings, Find a Niche in Rural Kentucky
Aug 22, 2017 - Highlights a drop-in youth safe space in rural Kentucky where young adults aged 14-25 can come in when they are in crisis. Young people who may be dealing with homelessness, attempting to flee abusive homes or drug-addicted parents, or who are struggling with depression, come to the center for group activities, access to counseling services, and the safe community that it provides.
Source: The Daily Yonder
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A Conversation with Lara Brooks and Brian Whitacre
Aug 22, 2017 - Radio interview with Lara Brooks, the Rural Health Analyst with the Oklahoma Office of Rural Health, and Dr. Brian Whitacre, the Professor and Extension Economist in Agricultural Economics at Oklahoma State University. Discussion includes research Brooks and Whitacre have done on the economic impact of hospitals in rural communities, among other things.
Source: Rural Health Leadership Radio
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SAMHSA Report Shows Increase in Opioid Treatment Facilities
Aug 22, 2017 - A new report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA), Trends in the Use of Methadone, Buprenorphine, and Extended-release Naltrexone at Substance Abuse Facilities 2003-2015, found that opioid treatment programs in the United States increased 39% from 2003 to 2016.
Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
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Rural Job Growth Continues Its Anemic Pace Compared to Metro
Aug 21, 2017 - New data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that job growth in rural areas continues to lag behind the rest of the country. From June 2016 to June 2017, jobs in the largest metropolitan areas increased by about 2%. In rural counties, jobs increased by only 0.29%, and for counties that are not adjacent to any metropolitan area, jobs decreased slightly. Includes an interactive map with county-by-county data.
Source: The Daily Yonder
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VA to Revise State Veteran Home Construction Regulations
Aug 21, 2017 - Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary David Shulkin announced plans to propose rule changes that would ensure some agency funding is used specifically to build nursing homes for rural veterans. The VA currently sets priorities based on demographics and the need for beds, making it difficult for rural areas to compete. Proposed regulation changes are expected later this year, and should make it easier for rural areas to receive funding.
Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
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Rural America Gets Creative to Attract Much-Needed Doctors
Aug 21, 2017 - As projected physician shortages in rural areas continue to grow, some states are trying new approaches to help attract and retain more providers. Example approaches include the University of North Dakota's Rural Opportunities in Medical Education (ROME) program, and Missouri's use of assistant physicians.
Source: Governing
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New Program Aims to Keep OB/GYNs in Rural America
Aug 19, 2017 - Women in rural areas of the U.S. often have to travel 30, 60, 90 minutes or more in order to reach a facility with maternity services. A new residency program at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health seeks to address this issue by training obstetrician/gynecologists in rural areas - with the hope they will eventually work there.
Source: NBC News
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Gun Sellers Join Forces To Curb Suicide-By-Firearm, Rampant In Rural Areas
Aug 18, 2017 - Details the results of a new study that found that although suicide rates are higher in rural areas, there is no significant difference between urban and rural suicide rates in Maryland when gun-related suicides are excluded. Also highlights efforts in New Hampshire to work with gun retailers to reduce gun-related suicides by providing education to retailers on some of the signs that a person may be shopping for a gun with suicide in mind and providing consumers with prevention advice cards and pamphlets that recommend storing firearms off-site if the consumer lives with someone who is at risk.
Source: Kaiser Health News
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Opioid Crisis Strains Foster Care System; Programs Aim To Keep Kids With Mom
Aug 18, 2017 - Discusses the link between the opioid epidemic and a rising number of displaced children putting pressure on an overfull foster care system. Also highlights programs in Kentucky and other states that link drug treatment with efforts to keep families together.
Source: Kaiser Health News
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WVU Researchers, Health Professionals Lead New Effort to Prevent HIV and Hepatitis C Outbreaks Related to Opioid Epidemic
Aug 16, 2017 - West Virginia has the highest drug overdose fatality and hepatitis rates in the U.S., which makes them particularly vulnerable to outbreaks of HIV, especially because local health systems in rural areas may not have the ability to address an outbreak. Led by West Virginia University, the Rural West Virginia Responds to Opioid Injection Epidemics: From Data to Action project is developing an integrated prevention, harm reduction, and treatment team to rapidly identify and mitigate small HIV "microepidemics" in eight southern West Virginia counties.
Source: WVU Today
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CMS Releases Hospice Compare Website to Improve Consumer Experiences, Empower Patients
Aug 16, 2017 - The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has unveiled a website that allows consumers to compare hospice facilities by providing a brief overview of the quality of care provided to patients in each facility. The Hospice Compare website was created in an effort to provide greater transparency for consumers to make informed healthcare decisions.
Source: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
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Fighting Fires For Free, Aging Volunteers Struggle To Recruit The Next Generation
Aug 16, 2017 - Highlights the challenges faced by rural volunteer fire fighters who are trying to meet greater levels of need with fewer people. Additionally, these aging volunteer forces are often working without, or with outdated, rescue equipment. Also touches on similar issues for rural volunteer EMS services.
Source: NPR
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CMS Proposes Changes to the Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement Model, Cancellation of the Mandatory Episode Payment Models And Cardiac Rehabilitation Incentive Payment Model
Aug 15, 2017 - The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a proposed rule to reduce the number of mandatory geographic areas participating in the CMS Innovation's Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CJR) model from 67 to 34. Within those 34 mandatory areas, this rule also proposes to make participation voluntary for low volume and rural hospitals. This proposed rule would also cancel the Episode Payment Models (EPMs) and the Cardiac Rehabilitation (CR) incentive payment model.
Source: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
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HHS Awards Nearly $105 Million to Improve Health Center Quality
Aug 15, 2017 - The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced nearly $105 million to help health centers in all U.S. states, territories, and the District of Columbia improve the quality, efficiency, and effectiveness of the healthcare they provide. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) also released data on the nearly 26 million people who rely on HRSA-funded health centers for affordable primary care.
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
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New Numbers Reveal Huge Disparities in Opioid Prescribing
Aug 14, 2017 - Highlights new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on the counties that distributed the highest amounts of opioid painkillers per capita. Also explores the county with the highest rate, a rural county in Virginia, and some of the potential reasons why prescription painkiller use is so high there.
Source: Stateline, Pew Charitable Trusts
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Trump Says Opioid Crisis Is a National Emergency, Pledges More Money and Attention
Aug 10, 2017 - President Trump declared the opioid epidemic a national emergency, shortly after a preliminary report from the President's Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis described the epidemic as "September 11th every three weeks." Also details some of the ways an official declaration could free up resources to help those struggling with opioid addiction. (May require subscription to view full article.)
Source: The Washington Post
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New Behavioral Health Barometers Provide In-Depth Data for All 50 States and DC
Aug 10, 2017 - The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released the fourth edition of its Behavioral Health Barometer state reports. These reports include data on key behavioral health issues and include analyses using several demographic categories including gender, age, income level, health insurance status, and race/ethnicity.
Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
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ERs Can Improve Population Health in Rural Areas
Aug 10, 2017 - Emergency physicians in Michigan have proposed a new healthcare delivery model that aims to reverse the trend of hospital closures and failing health in rural areas. The proposed model would blend the lines between emergency care and primary care, resulting in a sustainable, rural-specific system that addresses rural residents' most pressing needs.
Source: American College of Emergency Physicians
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Substance Use Disorders: A Foundation Sees New Opportunities And Continuing Challenges
Aug 9, 2017 - Throughout Montana, mental illnesses and substance abuse disorders (SUDs) are continual problems. One organization, the Montana Healthcare Foundation (MHCF), is working to improve health outcomes by supporting innovative SUD service delivery models and focusing on targeted grant making. MHCF hopes to strengthen Montana's overall behavioral health provider network, which includes Rural Health Clinics, Federally Qualified Health Centers, and other rural facilities.
Source: Health Affairs Blog
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A Conversation with Michelle Mills
Aug 8, 2017 - Radio interview with Michelle Mills, CEO of the Colorado Rural Health Center, which functions as both the State Office of Rural Health and the Rural Health Association in Colorado. Discussion includes the Colorado Rural Health Center and some of the innovative work it does, among other things.
Source: Rural Health Leadership Radio
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Rural Appalachia Lags the Rest of the Country in Infant Mortality and Life Expectancy
Aug 7, 2017 - Highlights a recent study which found that people who live in rural Appalachia have higher infant mortality rates and lower life expectancy. The study reveals that these health gaps are relatively new and have widened since the early 1990s due to progress made in health outcomes by the rest of the country that were not reflected in rural Appalachia. (May require subscription to view full article.)
Source: The Washington Post
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For Rural Veterans, New Approaches to Health Care
Aug 3, 2017 - Highlights a pilot program that was funded by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) that provided transportation to medical appointments for rural veterans in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas. Also explores factors contributing to the difficultly rural veterans face in accessing medical care.
Source: Stateline, Pew Charitable Trusts
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President, VA Secretary Announce Veteran Telehealth Initiatives Designed to Provide Greater Access, Care
Aug 3, 2017 - President Trump and VA Secretary Dr. David Shulkin announced three new initiatives that will help expand access to care for America's veterans. The initiatives will expand the VA's telehealth capability in three ways: removing location requirements and allowing "anywhere to anywhere VA healthcare," allowing telehealth access on mobiles phones and personal computers via the VA Video Connect service, and improving scheduling through the Veteran Appointment Request (VAR) app. All three initiatives are designed to connect more veterans with VA care by reducing geographic and regulatory barriers.
Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
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Honoring Tradition to Support Tribal Health
Aug 3, 2017 - With fewer than 400 members and a high rate of infant mortality, the future of the Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe was uncertain. Through years of advocacy, bringing in the right experts, and embracing healthy traditions, the tribe was able to come together and improve the overall health of the community. In 2016, the Shoalwater Bay Indian tribe was honored with the Culture of Health Prize.
Source: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
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Millions of Americans Live Nowhere Near a Hospital, Jeopardizing Their Lives
Aug 3, 2017 - While debates over healthcare access and coverage continue, an estimated 30 million Americans already live more than an hour from the nearest available trauma care. Access to care is a continual problem for rural residents, who consequently face higher rates of accidental death. Recent rural hospital closures have exacerbated the problem, causing some in Congress to search for solutions.
Source: CNN
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Participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Highest in Rural Areas and Small Towns, New Data Tool Reveals
Aug 2, 2017 - According to SNAP Maps, a new interactive data tool released by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), people in rural counties and small towns are more likely to participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) than people in more urban areas. This tool includes state-by-state and county-by-county data.
Source: Food Research and Action Center
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CMS Finalizes 2018 Payment and Policy Updates for Medicare Hospital Admissions
Aug 2, 2017 - The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a final rule on the fiscal year 2018 Medicare Inpatient Prospective Payment System and Long-Term Care Hospital Prospective Payment System. This rule updates 2018 Medicare payment and policies when patients are discharged from hospitals. Also announces a notice with comment period updating the 2018 Medicare payment policies and rates for inpatient psychiatric facilities. Includes fact sheets on both the Medicare Inpatient Prospective Payment System and Long-Term Care Hospital Prospective Payment System and the Medicare Inpatient Psychiatric Prospective Payment System.
Source: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
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Broadband & Healthcare - Just What the Doctor Ordered
Aug 2, 2017 - Small towns and rural communities across the U.S. are using broadband and other technologies to improve access to care. Adding new broadband infrastructure or improving existing networks can also help drive economic growth and increase job opportunities. Some towns, such as Loma Linda, California, are leveraging their broadband access to create rural medical hubs.
Source: The Daily Yonder
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Should The Opioid Crisis Be Declared A National Emergency?
Aug 2, 2017 - In a report released this week, a White House commission recommended that President Trump declare the opioid epidemic a national emergency. Proponents say that this would increase resources for drug treatment, but others worry that it could lead to heightened enforcement of drug laws for those struggling with addiction, steering them into the criminal justice system rather than into treatment.
Source: NPR
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Improving Cancer Control in Rural Communities
Aug 1, 2017 - Discusses two new studies - one by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and one by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - that found cancer death rates are higher in rural areas than in urban areas. Additionally, cancer death rates appear to be declining at a slower rate in rural areas. As rural health continues to gather national attention, the NCI will continue to work alongside CDC's rural health initiative, the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP), and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' Rural Health Council to address cancer disparities in rural communities.
Source: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
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CMS Updates Medicare Payment Rates, Quality Reporting Requirements
Aug 1, 2017 - The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued three final rules detailing 2018 Medicare payment rates for skilled nursing facilities, hospice, and inpatient rehabilitation facilities. Includes fact sheets for the FY 2018 Skilled Nursing Facility Prospective Payment System final rule, the FY 2018 Hospice Update, and the FY 2018 Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility Prospective Payment System Final Rule.
Source: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
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A Conversation with Tim Size
Aug 1, 2017 - Radio interview with Tim Size, the Executive Director of the Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative and co-chair of the National Health Association Foundation. Discussion includes rural health in Wisconsin specifically, creating collaborative partnerships in healthcare, and rural health policy, among other things.
Source: Rural Health Leadership Radio
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FDA Announces Comprehensive Regulatory Plan to Shift Trajectory of Tobacco-related Disease, Death
Jul 28, 2017 - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced a new plan for tobacco and nicotine regulation. This multi-year plan aims to reduce tobacco-related disease and death and to better protect children by putting nicotine addiction at the center of the agency's regulation efforts.
Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration
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More People with HIV Have the Virus under Control
Jul 27, 2017 - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released new estimates about HIV based on the most recent national data from 2014. They estimate that 49% of Americans living with HIV have achieved viral suppression, meaning that the virus exists only in very low levels within the body and is significantly less likely to spread to others. Also includes details on the progress that has been made to address HIV as well as the work that still needs to be done, including information on disparities by age, race, sexual orientation, and location.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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Billions in Federal Uncompensated Care Funds to Be Cut Starting in October
Jul 27, 2017 - Details the concern over potential cuts to the some of the financial assistance offered to hospitals by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). These cuts were originally part of the Affordable Care Act, meant to be off-set by the increased patient volume that would result from expanded health insurance coverage, but were delayed when patient traffic did not rise as high as had been expected. CMS has proposed allowing the cuts, citing the fact that the formula used for the cuts aims to provide funding to providers with the greatest need first. (May require subscription to view full article.)
Source: Modern Healthcare
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Rural Minnesota Health System Tackles Opioid Epidemic
Jul 26, 2017 - Highlights the work of a rural Minnesota hospital to implement a care coordination program focused on prescription drug abuse in their community. The care team uses physicians, pharmacists, and social workers to manage prescription drug use and to address other patient concerns like behavioral health needs, homelessness, insurance, and transportation.
Source: Hospitals and Health Networks Magazine
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CMS Proposes 2018 and 2019 Payment Changes for Medicare Home Health Agencies
Jul 25, 2017 - The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed rule that would update payment rates and the wage index for home health agencies (HHAs) serving Medicare beneficiaries in 2018. This rule also proposed a redesign of the payment system in 2019. This proposed rule is part of a larger effort by CMS to relieve regulatory burdens for providers and promote transparency.
Source: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
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A Conversation with Andy Fosmire
Jul 25, 2017 - Radio interview with Andy Fosmire, the Vice President for Rural Health of the Oklahoma Hospital Association. Discussion includes rural hospital closures and the risk in Oklahoma, the work of the Oklahoma Hospital Association especially as it relates to rural hospitals, and a 24-hour outpatient hospital model the Oklahoma Hospital Association is working on presenting to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) with the hospital associations in Kansas and New Mexico, among other things.
Source: Rural Health Leadership Radio
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