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Top Stories

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

Dec 7, 2023 - Highlights the food sovereignty movement, an effort to return traditional Indigenous gardening and food supply practices to Native communities. Discusses food deserts on reservations and higher rates of health conditions such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes for American Indian and Alaska Native populations.
Source: KFF Health News, NPR
Dec 7, 2023 - Describes how the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of telehealth. Discusses the impact on rural healthcare delivery in Georgia, particularly with remote patient monitoring, as well as the challenges that still remain.
Source: Government Technology, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Dec 6, 2023 - Offers analysis of jobs data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, finding that access to rural jobs is increasing, but still remain below pre-pandemic levels. Includes employment trends over time, rural and urban comparisons, and both state and county-level data. Discusses potential factors impacting these trends.
Source: The Daily Yonder
Dec 5, 2023 - Announcement of proposed legislation to expand the eligibility requirements of Rural Emergency Hospitals. Legislation would allow closed hospitals to reopen if they met the eligibility requirements between January 2015 and December 2020.
Source: Office of Senator Jerry Moran
Dec 5, 2023 - Announcement of a partnership between the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and a network of wastewater organizations to improve wastewater infrastructure and water quality for rural areas. Through the partnership, rural areas will have increased access to funding, technical assistance, and networking.
Source: Rural Development, United States Department of Agriculture
Nov 29, 2023 - Profile of a Native American doctor's career in medicine. Discusses recruitment and retention of Native physicians and the impact that historical trauma has had on her decision to become a physician.
Source: Northwest Public Broadcasting
Nov 29, 2023 - Describes the use of both mobile and virtual care for rural residents in South Carolina as well as the challenges that come with this these models of service. Discusses remote patient monitoring, technology challenges, and sustainability of services.
Source: Xtelligent Healthcare Media
Nov 28, 2023 - Reviews data showing that disparities in affordability for broadband for rural and urban residents including a look at how the number of providers in an area impacts cost for both urban and rural areas. Discusses the affordability requirement of Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) funding.
Source: The Daily Yonder
Nov 22, 2023 - Discusses rural food insecurity for elderly Arkansas residents. The Good Food Rx initiative offers qualifying seniors free food, food delivery, cooking classes, and more. Highlights both transportation barriers and isolation for elderly residents.
Source: Rural Health Voices
Nov 22, 2023 - Highlights 4 medical students' who are choosing to practice in rural areas. Discusses how they chose their career paths, student debt, and their recommendations to increase exposure to rural health in medical school curriculums.
Source: Rural Health Voices
Nov 22, 2023 - Interviews 3 former National Rural Health Association Rural Health Fellows about their experiences in the program and the impact on their careers.
Source: Rural Health Voices
Nov 22, 2023 - Planned hospitals in the Texas Panhandle will increase access to mental healthcare, including inpatient care, for rural residents. Describes current distance to care for residents and the impact on the local criminal justice system. Highlights local efforts to improve the mental health of the residents and the gaps the hospitals will fill.
Source: The Texas Tribune
Nov 21, 2023 - Highlights efforts to research rural-specific health and safety issues in California. Discusses community-based partnerships, working with rural minority populations, and data-gathering techniques.
Source: Nature Index
Nov 20, 2023 - Highlights research exploring recent trends in distance to dialysis treatment for rural and urban residents. Discusses policy measures that have improved access to dialysis for rural residents over time, particularly for rural African Americans, as well as barriers to care that remain.
Source: The Daily Yonder
Nov 16, 2023 - Highlights the harm reduction strategy one Wisconsin tribe has implemented to reduce mortality from the opioid crisis. Discusses stigma, the high rates of overdose deaths for native people in Wisconsin, and the potential for harm reduction to lead to effective treatment. Describes their successes as a model for other Indigenous communities as well as harm reduction in general.
Source: STAT News
Nov 16, 2023 - Bipartisan legislation addressing the financial stability of rural hospitals has been introduced. The bill would extend the Medicare-dependent hospital program and Medicare low-volume hospital payments as well as require a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on rural hospital designations.
Source: Office of Representative Terri Sewell
Nov 14, 2023 - Highlights the community justice worker (CJW) model in Alaska for access to legal care. The model, based on the community health aide model, is being studied for potential implementation in rural Minnesota. Discusses the attorney shortage in rural areas and the health impact this has on rural residents, particularly through access to safe and healthy housing and domestic violence situations. Notes that Indigenous populations in particular stand to benefit from the model.
Source: MinnPost
Nov 14, 2023 - Highlights telehealth in rural New York, discussing both increased access to healthcare and remaining barriers. Notes the impact on access to specialists, behavioral healthcare, dentistry, and optometry.
Source: NCPR
Nov 14, 2023 - Summarizes discussions at a Senate Committee on Indian Affairs field hearing in Alaska on the impacts of the salmon crisis. In addition to economic issues, the crisis contributes to poorer mental and physical health. Discusses cultural food practices and the connection between harvesting and health.
Source: Alaska Public Media
Nov 10, 2023 - The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has created a graduate medical education pilot program in an effort to increase access to healthcare for rural, tribal, and other underserved Veterans. 100 or more physician residents will be placed in non-VA facilities in rural and other communities beginning in July 2025.
Source: Department of Veterans Affairs
Nov 9, 2023 - Highlights the impact of a naloxone vending machine in a rural Vermont community. Describes the trend to offer naloxone not just through vending machines but also through awareness programming throughout rural America.
Source: The Daily Yonder
Nov 3, 2023 - Highlights actions taken by the Biden-Harris Administration with regard to rural healthcare. Areas addressed include access to health insurance, facility closures, cyber security, workforce shortages, telehealth, access to healthcare, and more.
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Nov 2, 2023 - A roundtable will be convened on November 17th to discuss broadband as a social determinant of health and the potential for improving maternal health outcomes. The roundtable will be both in person and streamed online and is available to the public. Invited stakeholders include policymakers, public health experts, clinicians, community organizations, and more.
Source: Federal Communications Commission
Nov 2, 2023 - Part 3 of a documentary highlighting telehealth as a solution to healthcare access challenges, particularly for gender affirming care and maternal healthcare. Discusses the impacts of COVID on telehealth practice. Discusses barriers to telehealth such as broadband access and comfort with technology. Captions are available in the video player.
Source: STAT News
Nov 1, 2023 - The Federal Communications Commission has announced a Notice of Inquiry to evaluate the FCC's standard for broadband. States that the current standard is outdated, causing an undercount of the number of rural and other communities with insufficient high-speed internet. The inquiry will also set long-term goals for gigabit speeds and evaluate broadband data collection impacts. Comments may be submitted by December 1st.
Source: Federal Communications Commission
Oct 31, 2023 - Highlights the shortage of professional caregivers in Washington, particularly in rural areas. Discusses the role informal caregivers play in filling that gap along with the costs associated with caregiving.
Source: KUOW, NPR
Oct 31, 2023 - Federal funding through the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Rural Health aims to address the digital divide for farmworkers in the state. Discusses the role of internet access in improving health outcomes as well as health disparities for agricultural workers both in North Carolina and nationally.
Source: North Carolina Health News
Oct 30, 2023 - A fellowship to train family medicine physicians in obstetrics has been established in Mississippi, a state with a shortage of maternal healthcare in rural areas and high maternal and infant mortality rates. Discusses the history of maternal healthcare licensure and liability insurance, leading to the shortage of physicians offering obstetrics services.
Source: Mississippi Today
Oct 27, 2023 - Describes a project that trains rural primary care providers in New Mexico on offering medication-assisted treatment to patients with opioid use disorder (MOUD). Discusses how the Project ECHO model has increased MOUD care access in rural areas.
Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
Oct 26, 2023 - An Oklahoma State University physician training program is set to graduate its first class. It is the only program in the nation on a reservation, and it aims to increase the number of physicians from Native American and rural communities. The curriculum includes culturally relevant content. Discusses access to care issues for Cherokee residents.
Source: CBS News, KFF Health News
Oct 25, 2023 - Highlights mental health resource gaps in Wisconsin and the proposed crisis urgent care and observation centers to address the gaps. While location is still being decided, rural mental healthcare shortages and long distances to currently available care is being factored into the decision. Discusses the burden placed on small-town law enforcement in responding to mental health issues.
Source: The Cap Times
Oct 24, 2023 - Highlights an Iowan environmental health officer's efforts to test and treat private well water using government funding. States that these wells are at risk of contamination from nearby farms and industrial sites, putting well water users at risk of long-term health issues. Notes that potentially more than one-fifth of private wells are contaminated, but most are not required to receive regular testing.
Source: KFF Health News, USA Today
Oct 20, 2023 - The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is requesting comments on ways the FCC can contribute to improvement of maternal healthcare, both generally and through enhancement of the Mapping Broadband Health in America tool. Also seeks information on current broadband-enabled health technologies and barriers to maternal healthcare. Comments may be submitted until November 20th. Replies to comments may be submitted until December 19th. The Notice of Inquiry discusses rural-specific access issues.
Source: Federal Communications Commission
Oct 20, 2023 - Highlights National Rural Health Day on November 16th. Notes events hosted across federal agencies and offers examples of ways philanthropies can participate.
Source: Grantmakers In Health
Oct 20, 2023 - 3 part series on health disparities in a rural West Texas town and their use of telemedicine to address the disparities. Part 1 discusses workforce distribution and low population density. Part 2 describes how a telemedicine appointment works and the implication for preventative care. Part 3 discusses sustainability and long-term plans for the health center. Captions available in the video player.
Source: CBS7
Oct 19, 2023 - Describes a program in Nevada providing services to pregnant and postpartum women who use drugs. Recent federal funding is allowing them to expand into rural areas. Notes that rural areas have been most impacted by the opioid epidemic and also have barriers to treatment access.
Source: KFF Health News
Oct 19, 2023 - Call for experts to participate in a workshop on research needs for harm reduction strategies for people who use drugs. Areas of expertise include opioid use disorder, harm reduction strategies, drug data collection and program evaluation, drug policy, and lived experience. The deadline to submit nominations is October 25th.
Source: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
Oct 17, 2023 - Evaluates the impact of a lack of mental healthcare providers on children in rural North Carolina, particularly for children in foster care and alongside the opioid epidemic. Discusses the projected impact of upcoming Medicaid expansion, shifting mental healthcare provision out of the emergency department, healthcare worker burnout, and health literacy.
Source: Border Belt Independent
Oct 17, 2023 - Discusses the lack of mental healthcare access for children in foster care in rural North Carolina. Notes that children in foster care are more likely to have traumatic and other adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). Data show both an increase in the number of children in foster care as well as a shortage of foster families in this area. Discusses new programs that aim to increase access to mental healthcare including telehealth and access at school.
Source: Border Belt Independent
Oct 17, 2023 - Highlights financial challenges for rural hospitals as enrollment in Medicare Advantage grows. Notes that reimbursement rates are usually lower than traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage often reimburses slowly or not at all. Includes recent policy measures attempting to address the challenges.
Source: NPR, KFF Health News
Oct 12, 2023 - Part 2 of a documentary discussing rural residencies and the role of a rural physician. Discusses retaining rural physicians through residency programs and funding of those programs. Captions are available in the video player.
Source: STAT News
Oct 10, 2023 - Notice from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) issuing a temporary rule to extend certain exceptions to existing DEA regulations implemented in March 2020 because of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (COVID-19 PHE). The full set of telemedicine flexibilities regarding the prescription of controlled medications that were in place during the COVID-19 PHE will remain in place through December 31, 2024. In addition, if a patient and a practitioner have established a telemedicine relationship on or before November 11, 2023, the First Temporary Rule allowed the same telemedicine flexibilities that have governed the relationship to that point are permitted until November 11, 2024. This Second Temporary Rule extends current flexibilities for all practitioner-patient relationships—not just those established on or before November 11, 2023—until the end of 2024. This rule is effective November 11, 2023, through December 31, 2024.
Source: Federal Register

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