Rural Health
Top Stories

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

Against the Grain: Expanding Rural Health Care in a Climate of Closure
May 4, 2016 - Highlights successes of healthcare facilities in New Hampshire and Hawaii, where New Market Tax Credits are being used by facilities to fund construction for growth of health services that are making a difference in the quality of health and life in rural areas.
Source: Triple Pundit
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Opinion: Combating Rural Opioid Abuse Requires Cooperation at All Levels
May 4, 2016 - Opinion piece by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, discussing implications of opioid abuse in rural America and efforts to address the problem on the federal, state, and local levels.
Source: Berks Country Reading Eagle
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Internists Say GME Funding Undermines Primary Care
May 4, 2016 - Details of a message to Congress from the American College of Physicians and the Alliance for Academic Internal Medicine, stating that the current system for funding graduate medical education does not work for a modern workforce, and recommending several immediate changes.
Source: Medscape Medical News
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Dr. Dean Goes to Washington
May 4, 2016 - Details testimony from Saratoga physician Dean Bartholomew on challenges faced by rural healthcare providers, in a panel discussion among members of the Senate Rural Health Caucus, the National Quality Forum, rural healthcare providers, and academic experts on healthcare policy.
Source: Saratoga Sun
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CMS: Medicare and Medicaid Programs; Fire Safety Requirements for Certain Health Care Facilities; Final Rule Federal Register
May 4, 2016 - CMS final rule amending the fire safety standards for healthcare facilities participating in Medicare and Medicaid programs, including a section on requirements for Critical Access Hospitals. Also provides notice of the adoption of the 2012 edition of the Life Safety Code and Health Care Facilities Code, with some exceptions noted.
Source: Federal Register
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How MACRA, MIPS Will Impact Critical Access Hospitals, FQHCs
May 3, 2016 - Discusses the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) and the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), and the ways in which they will affect various healthcare facilities in rural and underserved areas.
Source: RevCycle Intelligence
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Acting Administrator Slavitt Speech at the American Hospital Association’s Annual Membership Meeting
May 3, 2016 - Remarks from CMS administrator Andy Slavitt, including announcement of a Rural Health Task Force to address short- and long-term planning related to innovation and economics of healthcare in rural America.
Source: CMS Blog
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Social Service Shortfalls Hinder Health, Boost Medical Spending
May 3, 2016 - Describes a study showing that states with highest ratios of spending for social services and public health programs relative to Medicare and Medicaid spending for physical health have healthier residents.
Source: USA Today
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AHRQ Report Shows Gains in Access to and Affordability of Health Insurance
May 3, 2016 - Describes report featuring annual trends on more than 250 measures of care quality, access, and disparities covering a broad array of healthcare services and settings.
Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
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CMS Finalizes its Quality Measure Development Plan
May 2, 2016 - Announces the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid's final Quality Measure Development Plan, a strategic framework to support the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and advanced alternative payment models (APMs), along with select comments and suggestions on the draft plan.
Source: CMS Blog
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Two Reservation Hospitals Agree to Quality-of-Care Changes
May 2, 2016 - Indian Health Services hospitals on the Pine Ridge and Rosebud Indian Reservations in South Dakota will continue receiving federal funding after agreeing to improve quality of care for patients. A local team and monitor from CMS will ensure the improvements are made, with emergency rooms being privatized at both locations.
Source: Associated Press
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FAQ: Medicare Lays Out Plans For Changing Doctors’ Pay
May 2, 2016 - Describes two proposed Medicare physician payment systems, the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and Advanced Alternative Payment Models (APMs) that will transition to a focus on quality, value, and accountability. MIPS will evaluate value and quality of care using four performance categories, including cost, quality, and how doctors use and share electronic health records, to determine Medicare Part B payment adjustment. Advanced APMs will allow doctors to set payments and centers on coordinated, high-quality care including models such as centralized medical homes and newer accountable care organization models.
Source: Kaiser Health News
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Rep. Hardy Introduces Bill to Save Rural Hospitals
May 2, 2016 - Announcement of the Rural Hospital Enhancement and Long Term Health Act (Rural HEALTH Act), which will support rural hospitals through the reauthorization of the the State Offices of Rural Health (SORH) program and incentivize construction for new, or update existing, hospitals in rural areas.
Source: Office of U.S. Congressman Cresent Hardy
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New Medicaid Rules Could Ease Rural Health Care's Problems
May 2, 2016 - Describes release of new rules for managed care plans under Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which may help states address shortages of doctors in rural areas.
Source: Governing.com
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NRHA Announces 2016 Rural Health Award Recipients
May 2, 2016 - Announcement of the National Rural Health Association annual awards for rural health including outstanding programs, practitioners, organizations, students, and volunteers. Recipients will be honored at the NRHA Annual Rural Health Conference on May 12, 2016 in Minneapolis.
Source: National Rural Health Association
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GAO: Health Care Access Hard to Measure for Native Americans
Apr 28, 2016 - Describes a recent report from the Government Accountability Office that finds healthcare access measurement issues within Indian Health Services due to poor tracking policies in place. Highlights inadequate services at some facilities that have resulted in long wait times and lower quality of care provided.
Source: ABC News
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CMS: Medicare Program; FY 2017 Hospice Wage Index and Payment Rate Update and Hospice Quality Reporting Requirements Federal Register
Apr 28, 2016 - The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have released a proposed rule updating the hospice wage index, payment rates, and cap amount for FY 2017. Furthermore, the proposal makes changes to hospice quality measures and reporting.
Source: Federal Register
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Getting Enough Food is Still a Problem for Many Americans
Apr 28, 2016 - Describes a new report that found food security to be a persistent problem across the country, especially in rural areas.
Source: Marketplace
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New Report on Rural Telemedicine: 15 Million Kids in Health Care Deserts
Apr 27, 2016 - Describes a recent Children's Health Fund report that highlights the role of telehealth services in addressing healthcare access challenges faced by children in healthcare deserts, many of which exist in rural areas.
Source: School-Based Health Alliance
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CMS: Medicare Program; Hospital Inpatient Prospective Payment Systems for Acute Care Hospitals and the Long-Term Care Hospital Prospective Payment System and Proposed Policy Changes and Fiscal Year 2017 Rates; Quality Reporting Requirements for Specific Providers; Graduate Medical Education; Hospital Notification Procedures Applicable to Beneficiaries Receiving Observation Services; and Technical Changes Relating to Costs to Organizations and Medicare Cost Reports Federal Register
Apr 27, 2016 - The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) proposes an update to the Medicare hospital inpatient prospective payment systems for acute care hospitals for FY 2017. Included in this update are changes to direct graduate medical education and indirect medical education payments to hospitals with rural training track programs.
Source: Federal Register
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Governor Approves New Tax Credit for Rural Hospital Donors
Apr 26, 2016 - Reports that Governor Deal of Georgia has signed into state law a new tax credit for those who give to rural hospitals within the state in an effort to help address rural hospital closures.
Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
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As Medical Programs Strive to Crank out Rural Physicians, the Shortage Grows
Apr 26, 2016 - Highlights persistent primary care workforce shortages in rural areas of the United States with a focus on the impact of them on rural Missouri. Describes programs that are addressing the workforce shortage in rural Missouri by exposing prospective members of the healthcare workforce to rural practice.
Source: The Columbia Missourian
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CMS: Medicare Program; Prospective Payment System and Consolidated Billing for Skilled Nursing Facilities Proposed Rule for FY 2017, SNF Value-Based Purchasing Program, SNF Quality Reporting Program, and SNF Payment Models Research Federal Register
Apr 25, 2016 - The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has released a proposed rule that will update payment rates under the prospective payment system for skilled nursing facilities for FY 2017. Also includes updates to quality measures and reporting.
Source: Federal Register
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CMS: Medicare Program; Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility Prospective Payment System for Federal Fiscal Year 2017 Federal Register
Apr 25, 2016 - The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has released a proposed rule updating the prospective payment rates for inpatient rehabilitation facilities for FY 2017. The proposal also includes an update to quality measures and reporting requirements.
Source: Federal Register
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UnitedHealth's Pullback from Exchange Business Could Hit Rural Counties
Apr 23, 2016 - Describes a recent Kaiser Family Foundation study that measured the rural impact of UnitedHealth's discontinuation in offering health insurance plans through the federal marketplace.
Source: The Star Tribune
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Senators Introduce Legislation to Aid Rural Hospitals
Apr 22, 2016 - Describes the introduction of a bipartisan bill into the Senate that aims to increase Medicare payments to rural hospitals and those in low-wage areas by adjusting the current formula of payment.
Source: Valdosta Today
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As Funding Ends, Regional Extension Centers Adjust Business Models
Apr 22, 2016 - Discusses the future of the Regional Extension Centers (RECs), which are part of a program that runs through the end of 2016. RECs assist healthcare providers, including many in rural and underserved settings, with EHR adoption. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT estimates 90% of the 62 current RECs will continue to operate nationwide.
Source: Health Data Management
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Speak Your Piece: Health-Care Innovation, Not Intervention
Apr 21, 2016 - Allen Smart, interim president and vice president of programs at the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, discusses the benefits of local, grassroots solutions to improve rural health.
Source: Daily Yonder
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How One Physician Sustains Care for the Poor
Apr 21, 2016 - Describes how Dr. Jasmine Sulaiman and her team have developed a string of health clinics serving a 3-county area of rural Texas, improving access in a region of deep poverty.
Source: Hospitals & Health Networks
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Medicare Program; Temporary Exception for Certain Severe Wound Discharges From Certain Long-Term Care Hospitals Required by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016; Modification of Limitations on Redesignation by the Medicare Geographic Classification Review Board Federal Register
Apr 21, 2016 - Interim final rule with comment period implements section 231 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016, related to wound care discharges and the Long-Term Care Hospital Prospective Payment System. Also amends current regulations to allow hospitals to reclassify based on their acquired rural status, effective with reclassifications beginning with fiscal year 2018. Comments should be submitted by June 17.
Source: Federal Register
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In the Navajo Nation, a Focus on Health Data
Apr 20, 2016 - Highlights two Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute funded projects that focus on diabetes among people living in the Navajo Nation, with insights on the collaborative research process and how data sets help the communities involved.
Source: Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute
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In IPPS Rule, CMS Proposes Changes for Urban Teaching Hospitals with Rural Training Track Programs
Apr 20, 2016 - CMS proposes to revise regulations for urban teaching hospitals related to rural training track (RTT) programs, increasing the time urban hospitals are allowed to establish RTT direct and indirect graduate medical education caps.
Source: J.D. Supra Business Advisor
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Rural Children Face Steep Healthcare Challenges
Apr 20, 2016 - Reports results from a study published in the journal Pediatrics that found poorer outcomes for rural children at pediatric hospitals compared to non-rural children. Researchers found differences in length of hospital stays and readmissions rates for rural children.
Source: HealthLeaders Media
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Medicare Delays Plans For New Star Ratings On Hospitals After Congressional Pressure
Apr 20, 2016 - The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will delay releasing a new overall hospital quality rating measure until at least July.
Source: Kaiser Health News
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Legislation Introduced to Expand Rural Hospice Care
Apr 20, 2016 - Describes recently introduced, bipartisan legislation to the United States Senate that aims to improve access to hospice care in rural communities across the country.
Source: The Montegomery Herald
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You Have to Drive an Hour for a Rape Kit in Rural America
Apr 19, 2016 - Reports on a recent Government Accountability Office report that finds a shortage of medical examiners to address the needs of rape victims in rural areas.
Source: The Washington Post
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Ahead of Earth Day, USDA Announces Clean Water and Environmental Projects for 60 Rural Communities
Apr 19, 2016 - Announces funding for 60 projects supporting improvement of rural water quality and safety in rural communities across the country.
Source: United States Department of Agriculture
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FDA Campaign Takes Aim at Chewing Tobacco Use by Rural Teens
Apr 19, 2016 - Reports a new Food and Drug Administration marketing campaign to create awareness and discourage rural teenagers from using chewing tobacco.
Source: Associated Press via Bozeman Daily Chronicle
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States Seek Ways to Regulate Steep Air-Ambulance Costs
Apr 19, 2016 - Describes the cost barriers to accessing air-ambulance services in rural communities and what states are doing to address them.
Source: Associated Press
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Federal, State Officials Discuss Barriers to Opioid Addiction Treatment
Apr 18, 2016 - Reports on a discussion during a meeting of the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services concerning access to opioid addiction treatment in rural areas in South Carolina and across the nation.
Source: The Post and Courier
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CMS Drops Two-Midnight Rule's Inpatient Payment Cuts
Apr 18, 2016 - Announces the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' intention to drop a 0.2% reduction in inpatient payments to hospitals under the two-midnight rule starting in 2017. (Full article may require free registration)
Source: Modern Healthcare
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Mental Health Crisis Intervention Training Teams Form in SW Virginia; Hailed as Rural Model
Apr 18, 2016 - Provides an overview of a mental health crisis intervention strategy employed in Virginia that encourages cooperation between rural law enforcement and behavioral health professionals to help prevent inappropriate incarceration of those suffering from mental illness.
Source: National Association of Counties
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The ‘Vicious Cycle’ Of Rural Drug Addiction
Apr 18, 2016 - Describes higher rates of addiction to and death from illicit drug abuse among rural residents when compared with urban residents. Highlights the burden of care this puts on rural hospitals across the country.
Source: ThinkProgress
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VA: Veterans Rural Health Advisory Committee Meeting Federal Register
Apr 18, 2016 - The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) gives notice that the Veterans Rural Health Advisory Committee will hold a public meeting on May 3-4, 2016. The purpose of the Committee is to advise the Secretary of Veterans Affairs on healthcare issues impacting enrolled Veterans who live in rural areas.
Source: Federal Register
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RUS: Announcement of Grant Application Deadlines and Funding Levels Federal Register
Apr 18, 2016 - The Rural Utilities Service announces its Community Connect Grant Program application window for Fiscal Year 2016. The purpose of the program is to provide grants that will provide currently unserved areas with broadband service that fosters economic growth and delivers enhanced educational, healthcare, and public safety services.
Source: Federal Register
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Stronger, Potentially Lethal Heroin Shows up in Rural Virginia
Apr 15, 2016 - Highlights growing rates of heroin overdoses across Virginia and provides tips on how to remain on high alert for signs of abuse.
Source: The Washington Post
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Senate Appropriations Committee Approves FY2017 MilCon-VA Bill
Apr 14, 2016 - Describes the passage of the FY 2017 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill through the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations. Among other things, this bill provides $250 million to rural health initiatives to improve healthcare access for rural veterans.
Source: U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations
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NQF and the Senate Rural Health Caucus Host Briefing on Measuring and Improving the State of Rural Healthcare in America
Apr 13, 2016 - Announces a joint briefing of the Senate Rural Health Caucus and the National Quality Forum to discuss improving the quality of healthcare in rural America. The event will take place on April 19th at 3:30 p.m. Eastern and will feature keynote speakers Senator Al Franken (D-MN) and Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), who serve as co-chairs of the Senate Rural Health Caucus, as well as a panel of rural health experts.
Source: National Quality Forum
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Health Care’s Hard Realities On The Reservation: A Photo Essay
Apr 13, 2016 - Provides a glimpse into the lives of Native Americans in South Dakota and the challenges and barriers they face in accessing healthcare services, including geographic distances that many face.
Source: Kaiser Health News
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HRSA Reveals New Tool for Rural GME
Apr 12, 2016 - Announces the release of a new tool that assesses whether rural hospitals are teaching hospitals and their eligibility for the Rural Residency Planning and Development Program, which impacts a hospital's ability to grow residency programs and related funding sources.
Source: Lexology
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Medicare 'Hospital Star Rating’ May Correspond to Patient Outcomes
Apr 12, 2016 - Describes a new study that finds a positive connection between patient satisfaction and health outcomes. Outlines findings from the study indicating high levels of patient satisfaction among small and rural hospitals.
Source: Reuters
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In Rural States Policy Changes To Improve Access To Home Dialysis Are Vital
Apr 12, 2016 - This blog post highlights the benefits of and barriers to home dialysis for rural residents with chronic kidney disease; many of whom have to travel many miles to dialysis centers.
Source: Health Affairs Blog
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A Rural Healthcare Roadmap
Apr 12, 2016 - Describes a recent study that finds financial pressures on rural healthcare facilities impact rural healthcare delivery and, in turn, shape the way architects design these facilities. Highlights key principles of rural healthcare design identified by the study, including optimizing accessibility, operating self-sufficiently, standardizing and adapting clinical spaces, and maximizing staff connectivity.
Source: Healthcare Design
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Community Colleges Aim to Spur Better Health
Apr 11, 2016 - Describes Healthy Places NC which is a Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust supported initiative that improves the health of residents in a dozen of North Carolina's most rural and financially distressed counties by educating them on healthier ways to prepare meals.
Source: Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust
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Rural Medicine: Pediatric Care Costly and Complex
Apr 11, 2016 - Highlights a recent study that found healthcare disparities between rural and urban children. These disparities include differences in rates of medically complex chronic conditions and hospital readmission.
Source: MedPage Today
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Heroin Lives Here
Apr 11, 2016 - Describes the dramatic growth in heroin abuse across rural North Carolina in recent years and highlights the personal cost of losing friends and family to heroin overdose.
Source: North Carolina Health News
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Healthpartners, Essentia Health Study to Look at Increasing Preventive Cancer Care in Rural Areas
Apr 10, 2016 - Reports on an upcoming HealthPartners Institute study that will measure the effectiveness of the Cancer Prevention Wizard (CP Wizard) in increasing cancer prevention care in rural areas.
Source: Brainerd Dispatch
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A New Divide in American Death
Apr 10, 2016 - Reports on recent findings describing mortality rates and the disparities within them; most notably the difference between urban-rural women. Illustrates growing rural mortality rates over the past two decades by providing statistics and graphics.
Source: The Washington Post
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Shake-up to Survive: Struggling Rural Hospital in Kentucky Works on a Turnaround
Apr 9, 2016 - Reports how a CEO of a hospital in rural Kentucky is working to reestablish financial viability by cutting costs and attracting new federal funding to prevent downsizing or closure of the facility. (Full article may require free registration)
Source: Modern Healthcare
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Alone on the Range, Seniors Often Lack Access to Health Care
Apr 8, 2016 - Describes the challenges of aging in rural communities across the country, including access to healthcare due to a lack of healthcare workforce, transportation to it, and ability to pay for it.
Source: The New York Times
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A Year After HIV Outbreak, Austin Still Community in Recovery
Apr 8, 2016 - Recounts the HIV outbreak epidemic of one year ago in rural Scott County, Indiana. Highlights how the community is still in recovery from the episode.
Source: IndyStar
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Rural Recruiting, Retention Proves Daunting
Apr 7, 2016 - This blog post shares the thoughts on a young physician who highlights both the positive aspects of practicing rural and the negatives aspects that impact rural facilities' ability to recruit and retain workforce.
Source: American Academy of Family Physicians
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IHS: Notification of a Public Teleconference on American Indian/Alaska Native Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Two-Spirit Health Issues Federal Register
Apr 7, 2016 - Indian Health Service (IHS) gives notice of a public teleconference planned to gather information on best practices to improve the health services provided to the American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Two-Spirit (LGBT2S) community.
Source: Federal Register
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Helmsley Trust Announces Nearly $9M for Billings Clinic, State for Rural Health Care
Apr 6, 2016 - Announces a gift of nearly $9 million from the Leona M. And Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust to support rural healthcare workforce training across Montana and the region.
Source: Billings Gazette
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New Stark Law Exception Breathes Life into Primary Care, Especially in Underserved Areas
Apr 6, 2016 - Describes a regulatory adjustment making hiring practices more flexible for primary care and mental health providers in underserved and rural areas.
Source: JD Supra
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Shutting Rural Labor and Delivery Units Threatens Access, Health
Apr 6, 2016 - This blog post highlights the importance of access to obstetric services within rural communities amidst a trend of rural healthcare facilities closing obstetric services across the county.
Source: The American Academy of Family Physicians
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How to Address Rural Obesity? New Efforts Aim to Train Doctors about Nutrition
Apr 4, 2016 - Discusses the growth in rates of obesity across the nation and the importance of training and rewarding doctors to emphasize to their patients the impact of nutrition and exercise on their overall health status.
Source: High Plains Journal
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Hospital in Drug-Ravaged Appalachia Provides Hope and Jobs
Apr 2, 2016 - Describes the rebound of Jellico Community Hospital in Jellico, Tennessee and highlights financial troubles being faced by rural hospitals across Tennessee and the country.
Source: Modern Healthcare
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The Doctor is Out
Apr 1, 2016 - Recounts the years leading up to the closure of Bowie Memorial Hospital in Bowie, Texas, including arguments within the community for and against the closure. Details the impact of the closure related to the local economy, health of its residents, and emotional toll on the rural community. Reports a new opportunity to reopen the facility.
Source: The Texas Observer
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Healthcare Access Bills Yielding to Demographic Reality
Mar 30, 2016 - Through the example of Alaska, this article tells how state regulations concerning the use of telehealth services are changing to adopt the technology and increase access to healthcare for rural residents.
Source: HealthLeaders Media
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New Requirements for Rural Health Clinic Billing Effective April 1
Mar 30, 2016 - Highlights changes made to Rural Health Clinic billing regulations set to be implemented on April 1, 2016.
Source: RAC Monitor
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The Future Of Medicine Goes Digital
Mar 29, 2016 - Describes how the University of South Dakota is training medical students to address crises in rural areas through the use of telehealth technologies.
Source: KDLT News
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Fact Sheet: Obama Administration Announces Additional Actions to Address the Prescription Opioid Abuse and Heroin Epidemic
Mar 29, 2016 - Announces federal administrative and private sector actions to address opioid misuse and abuse across the country, including specific funding to address substance use disorder in rural communities.
Source: The White House
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Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Next Steps, Funding to Address Substance Abuse in Rural Communities
Mar 28, 2016 - Announces a series of rural town hall meetings and $1.4 million in funding for rural communities to conduct health and safety outreach in an effort to address opioid abuse in rural areas.
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture
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How Innovative Teamwork Saved This Rural Health Center
Mar 28, 2016 - Describes the experience of a rural health center in Lamar, Colorado, and how it embraced service integration to improve its bottom line.
Source: Forbes
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IHS: American Indians Into Nursing; Nursing Program Federal Register
Mar 28, 2016 - The Indian Health Service (IHS) announces a competitive cooperative agreement for the American Indians into Nursing program which aims to recruit and retain individuals to be registered nurses and to serve American Indian / Alaska Native populations. IHS will award 5 cooperative agreements for the term from August 1, 2016 to July 31, 2019.
Source: Federal Register
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Why Cancer Is so Hard to Fight in Rural Kentucky
Mar 25, 2016 - Explains why cancer is difficult to treat in Eastern Kentucky citing reasons such as poverty, medical illiteracy, lack of access to services, unhealthy life choices, and a sense of fatalism that prevents people from addressing their health issues. Health officials are trying to address the situation by educating people about the importance of health screenings, offering free screenings, and hiring professionals to make house calls and to encourage prevention and wellness.
Source: PBS NewsHour
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Rural Medicine, Specialty Careers Draw Health Care Grads
Mar 24, 2016 - Discusses some of the top schools for prospective physicians who are interested in rural medicine and highlights the need for rural physicians throughout the country.
Source: U.S. News
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For The VA's Broken Health System, The Fix Needs A Fix
Mar 23, 2016 - Reports on challenges for veterans seeking to take advantage of the Veterans Choice Program, which was created with the intent of improving access for veterans living far from a VA facility.
Source: NPR
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Rankings Illustrate Health Challenges for Rural America
Mar 23, 2016 - Highlights findings in the 2016 County Health Rankings related to rural health disparities, focusing on how lack of access to healthcare and social determinants of health contribute to these disparities.
Source: HealthLeaders Media
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Freestanding ERs Aim to Solve Health Care Problem in Texas
Mar 23, 2016 - Reports on the growth of freestanding emergency rooms in Texas and how this type of facility can help address healthcare access in rural parts of the state.
Source: KBTX
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Dental Health Challenges Persist in Kentucky, New Report Says
Mar 23, 2016 - Describes a recent study that finds poor dental health throughout Kentucky, especially among those living in rural areas, low-income residents, the elderly, pregnant women, and those with special needs.
Source: The PEW Charitable Trusts
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HRSA: Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection: Public Comment Request Federal Register
Mar 23, 2016 - The Health Resources and Services Administration is requesting input on the impact of Bureau of Health Workforce and National Health Service Corps outreach programs in underserved and rural communities.
Source: Federal Register
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Bumps along the Rural Road: Using Telemedicine to Treat Chronic Disease in Rural Communities
Mar 22, 2016 - Highlights the prevalence of chronic condition costs in rural states across the country and the promise of telehealth technology as a solution to lowering costs of managing chronic care. Provides a snapshot look at Mississippi and how it has begun to employ telemedicine to manage chronic conditions in rural areas.
Source: Healthcare IT News
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Rural Hospitals Keep Closing. What Can Be Done?
Mar 22, 2016 - Provides an overview of the current financial health of hospitals across rural America and some possible solutions suggested at both the federal and state levels.
Source: Healthcare Dive
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MedPAC Report Recommends Reduction in Medicare Part B Payments to 340B Hospitals
Mar 21, 2016 - Provides an overview of recent Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) recommendations made in a report to Congress concerning the Medicare Part B Drugs program.
Source: The National Law Review
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Barnwell and Other Small Towns Face New Reality after Rural Hospitals Close
Mar 19, 2016 - Reports rural hospital closures in South Carolina and state efforts to financially support partnerships between small, rural hospitals and larger, urban ones. Highlights the impact hospital closures on a small communities.
Source: The Post and Courier
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IHS Implements New Regulation for Tribes to Negotiate Medicare-Like Rates
Mar 18, 2016 - Announces a new regulation that gives the Indian Health Service the ability to cap payment rates at a "Medicare-like rate" to those who provide services through the Purchased/Referred Care program.
Source: Indian Health Service
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CMS Releases Interactive Mapping Medicare Disparities Tool
Mar 17, 2016 - Announces the release of a new county-by-county interactive map providing information on geographic disparities in chronic disease among Medicare beneficiaries. The tool is used to find information on disparities in health outcome, utilization, and spending among racial and ethnic minorities and geographic location.
Source: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
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HHS: Announcement of Establishment of the Secretary's Advisory Committee on National Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Objectives for 2030 and Solicitation of Nominations for Membership Federal Register
Mar 17, 2016 - The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is accepting nominations for the newly established Advisory Committee on National Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Objectives for 2030. The Committee will advise the Secretary on the Healthy People 2030 mission statement, vision statement, framework, and organizational structure.
Source: Federal Register
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HRSA: National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services; Notice of Meeting Federal Register
Mar 17, 2016 - The Health Resources and Services Administration gives notice of a meeting of the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services on April 18-20, 2016. The Committee provides advice and makes recommendations to the Secretary concerning health and human services in rural areas. The agenda is set to discuss opioid abuse and alternatives for emergency care in rural communities at risk of their hospital closing.
Source: Federal Register
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IHS Awards $138 Million for Diabetes Prevention and Treatment for American Indians and Alaska Natives
Mar 16, 2016 - Announces $138 million in funding to 301 programs across the country for FY 2016 to prevent and treat diabetes among American Indian and Alaska Native populations through the Indian Health Service's Special Diabetes Program.
Source: Indian Health Service
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Premature Deaths, Overdoses Bigger Problem in Rural US
Mar 16, 2016 - Describes findings from the new County Health Rankings, highlighting increases in the rate of premature deaths in rural counties across the country.
Source: CNBC
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County Health Rankings Show Stark Differences in Premature Death Rates Between Rural and Urban Counties
Mar 16, 2016 - The newly released 2016 County Health Rankings compare a variety of health measures between rural and urban counties across the country, including rates of smoking, obesity, child poverty, premature death, teen births, and uninsured adults.
Source: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
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Rural Healthcare’s Broadband Gap Widens
Mar 15, 2016 - Describes a recent study that found broadband access disparities between rural and urban healthcare facilities are growing after analyzing connectivity speeds across the country.
Source: The Daily Yonder
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CDC Has Advice For Primary Care Doctors About Opioids
Mar 15, 2016 - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released guidance on prescribing opioid painkillers. This article interviews the director of CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control who has been involved in the development of the guidelines, specifically questioning how these guidelines will impact access to needed painkillers in rural and remote areas.
Source: WBFO
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Making Primary Care Safer with TeamSTEPPS for Office-Based Care
Mar 14, 2016 - This blog post announces the addition of Team Strategies and Tools to Enhance Performance and Patient Safety (TeamSTEPPS) for Office-Based Care to the TeamSTEPPS Curriculum Tools and Materials. Using the same evidence-based teamwork system aimed at optimizing patient outcomes by improving teamwork skills among healthcare professionals, this new product tailors the improvement program to office-based healthcare teams, including those in small and rural practices.
Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
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HHS Awards $94 Million to Health Centers to Help Treat the Prescription Opioid Abuse and Heroin Epidemic in America
Mar 11, 2016 - Announces $94 million in funding to help health centers across the country address opioid abuse, especially in underserved urban and rural communities.
Source: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
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CMS: Medicare Program; Part B Drug Payment Model Federal Register
Mar 11, 2016 - The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has released a proposed rule discussing the implementation and impact of a new, value-oriented Medicare payment model, a two-phase Part B Drug Payment Model. Includes impact analysis on effects of the proposed rural on small and rural hospitals.
Source: Federal Register
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Udall at VA Budget Hearing: Improve Access to Care for Rural Veterans
Mar 10, 2016 - Reports on a Department of Veterans Affairs budget meeting for 2017 where Senator Udall pressed VA Secretary McDonald on the need to improve healthcare access for rural veterans. Includes video of the meeting (Length: 8:44 minutes).
Source: U.S. Senator Tom Udall
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What’s Working to Help Kids Across America Eat Healthy?
Mar 9, 2016 - Announces $2.6 million in funding to support the Healthy Eating Research program which is one of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's national programs that builds evidence to guide their work in addressing obesity among children. Highlights how research in this area helps address challenges to securing nutritional and healthy foods for children within rural, American Indian, and Asian/Pacific Islander populations.
Source: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
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USDA Announces Grants to Support Strategies to Reduce Child Food Insecurity in Rural Communities
Mar 9, 2016 - Announces $1.3 million in grants from the USDA Rural Child Poverty Nutrition Center at the University of Kentucky to 17 rural communities across the country to support efforts to address food insecurity among children.
Source: United States Department of Agriculture
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After Tragic Mistake, Rural Hospital Transforms into Model of Success
Mar 9, 2016 - Describes the transformation of a rural hospital in Fredericksburg, Texas from a low-quality facility facing financial uncertainty to a financially thriving hospital that addresses patients' needs more efficiently than ever.
Source: PBS NewsHour
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IHS: Reimbursement Rates for Calendar Year 2016 Federal Register
Mar 9, 2016 - The Indian Health Service (IHS) gives notice of reimbursement rates for inpatient and outpatient medical care provided to Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries at IHS facilities for calendar year 2016.
Source: Federal Register
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Counties Accept Challenge to Combat Rural Poverty
Mar 7, 2016 - Reports the announcement of the Rural Impact County Challenge made by U.S. Secretary of Agricultural Tom Vilsack during the White House Rural Council's Poverty Summit. The Rural Impact County Challenge asks for commitment from rural counties across the country to take meaningful steps towards addressing child poverty.
Source: National Association of Counties
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